Field Station Research Intern Mia Engle

Recent Temple Biology graduate Mia Engle has an accomplishment she is most proud of during her time with the Temple Ambler Field Station that speaks directly to the heart of the hands-on research that all of the Field Station Research Interns are involved with each day.

"I started the entomology collection at the Field Station. I pinned and identified the insects that I collected from my research, which has focused on how insects are responding to the immense disturbance caused in the Temple Forest Observatory by the 2021 tornado that struck Temple Ambler," said Engle, who graduated in May with a degree in Biology focusing of ecology from the College of Science and Technology. "That is the start of what will be, hopefully, a growing collection that can be used for teaching and research."

Teaching at the college level is something that Engle is particularly interested in pursuing as a career, she said, though she took and indirect route to arrive at that realization.

"I got into biology because I was originally interested in microorganisms and doing a lot of work with microscopes. I've have always had a love for the outdoors but that initially didn't seem to me like something I could pursue as a career," she said "I found lab work really wasn't for me, then I became interested in teaching — I wanted to teach high school biology because my high school biology teacher had been such a great mentor. I started teaching and came the conclusion that type of classroom experience was also not the right path for me."

Degree in hand, Engle said her goal is to "go into graduate school and eventually become a professor."

"I'm applying to both graduate school in either biology or ecology in addition to pursuing some job opportunities. I've been applying to mainly short-term field work positions to continue my research experience," said Engle, who became a Temple Ambler Field Station Research Intern during the fall 2023 semester. "I've had a very good experience at Temple — I'm happy to have had the experience of studying at both campuses. Everyone at Temple Ambler has been very friendly and collaborative — it's a great community feel."

Engle said she discovered the Field Station while taking a summer course at Temple Ambler with Dr. Brent Sewell (Associate Professor in Temple's Biology Department).

"He told us about the Temple Ambler Field Station and showed us around the Temple Forest Observatory and the other facilities," she said. "I loved all of the hands-on opportunities, so I applied to become a research intern."

According to Engle the collaborative project she worked on with her fellow research interns during the fall 2023 semester "was the sapling survey in the Temple Forest Observatory."

"The goal of the project is to look at sapling mortality in addition to the new saplings that are growing," she said. "My independent project focused on the diversity of insects related to disturbance after the tornado. The understory regrowth impacts various insects, which are sensitive to change. I'm trying to see what types of insect species I can find in multiple different levels of disturbance.'

Engle said she continued that research in the spring "looking at three different levels of disturbance and seeing if there are any common species that we find and the groupings of the species — decomposers, predacious or herbaceous/herbivore."

"The goal is to understand how insects react to a disturbance, which is very understudied. I feel like I've learned so much more engaging in hands-on research than I have in some other classes," she said. "I'm able to visually see and feel what we're learning about. I feel more confident. When I go into jobs, I didn't just learn about the research methods, I was directly involved with them, I have that practical experience."

Students gain advanced training by engaging in hands-on research internships that bring alive the excitement of science through an inquiry-based experience. Student interns work alongside researchers in the field to support ongoing projects and can develop investigations of their own.

Students interested in becoming a Field Station Research Intern, should reach out to the Temple Ambler Field Station at with their name, why they are interested in working with the Field Station, current transcripts, and current resumé.  

Learn more about the Temple Ambler Field Station at