Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Lab Members

If you are an undergraduate, and you are interested in studying the behavior of animals in captivity, please make sure you meet the requirements for joining my lab and then contact me to see if there is an opening.

If you are interested in pursing a master's degree under my guidance, please go to my graduate studies page for more information.

Current Graduate Students

Jessica Barber
joined the SSUPER Lab as a Biology M.S. student in August 2016. She received her Bachelor’s in Animal Science from Cal Poly in 2015. Jessica has experience working at multiple zoos and interning for a game reserve in South Africa, where she completed her senior project on predator movements. She has a passion for wildlife conservation and educating the general public about its importance. Jessica is studying the effects of food distribution, crowd size and weather on the behavior of sun bears at Oakland Zoo. She is interested in using her knowledge to influence positive changes in zoos and conservation efforts. 

(Photo courtesy of Jessica Barber)

Current Undergraduate Students

Yasmeen Ghavamian (Biology)

Emily Humphrey (Biology)

External Research Partners

SSUPER Lab projects rely on close collaboration with research partners that support the lab's mission:

David Jaffe received an A.S. degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management from Moorpark College and a BA from San Diego State University. He has worked with exotic animals for over 20 years, including tigers at Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo CA, elephants at San Diego Safari Park, and hoofstock and large carivores at San Franciso Zoo. Mr. Jaffe is currently the owner of Zoo Solutions. Zoo Solutions creates and fabricates custom designs to solve the enrichment and husbandry needs of zoos. Mr. Jaffe previous fabrications include penguin nest boxes for the California Academy of Sciences, a puppy vestibule for Canine Companions for Independence, and snake shipping crates for San Francisco Zoo. He also designed and built enrichment devices for two SSUPER Lab projects.

Video of Oakland Zoo lemurs using the lemur smart feeders

Video of Oakland Zoo chimps using the chimp enrichment devices

(Photo courtesy of David Jaffe)


Darren Minier works to enhance animal welfare and conservation through the collection of accurate and reliable behavioral data that is translated into real-world, effective behavior management solutions. Since 2000, Mr. Minier has built and managed animal care, behavior management, and welfare programs with a large range of taxa in zoos, marine parks, sanctuaries, animal-assisted therapy, and biomedical research facilities both nationally and abroad. He received a Masters in Collections Management and Zoological Administration from George Mason University and AZA's Zoo and Aquarium Leadership Program, a BS from the UC Davis in Wildlife and Fish Conservation Biology focusing in Behavioral Ecology, and three degrees from the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. Mr. Minier is a Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo overseeing the management of a diverse section of charismatic megafauna including ungulates, large carnivores, birds, reptiles, and primates. He also oversees the Zoo's research and animal care volunteer programs.

(Photo courtesy of Darren Minier)

Lab Alumni, Graduate Students

Nicole Cornelius (MS in Biology awarded May 2017); currently Scientific Aid with California Fish and Wildlife

Louisa Radosevich (MS in Biology awarded May 2017); currently Research Associate at San Diego Zoo Global studying rhinos

Penny (Wilson) Thomas (MS in Biology awarded May 2016)

Adriana Lopez (MS in Biology awarded May 2015); currently earning a teaching credential at Sonoma State University

Marcia Brown (posthumous MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Biological Anthropology) awarded May 2010)

Brieanna Richards (MS in BIology awarded May 2008); currently Biology Lecturer at Marin Community College

Lab Alumni, Undergraduate Students


  • Whitney Clack (Biology)
  • Kylie Gretler (Biology)
  • Catherine Henderson (Biology)
  • William Volkov (Biology)


  • Donald Williams (Psychology; McNair Scholar); currently Ph.D. student in Animal Behavior at UC Davis
  • Nichole Berry (Biology)
  • Kaysie Lewis (Biology)


  • Kyle Runzel (Anthropology); currently MA student in Primatology at Central Washington University
  • Elizabeth Lemus (Anthropology)
  • Madeline Warnement (Environmental Studies & Planning)
  • Tori Bohnett (Psychology)
  • David Edwards (Biology); currently Bioprocess Technician at Genetech
  • Lauren Russ (Anthropology); currently Gorilla Resesarcher and Caretaker at the Gorilla Foundation
  • Nakita Devagras (Environmental Studies & Planning)
  • Rachel Austin (Anthropology)
  • Jefferson Scott (Biology)


  • Annamarie McPeck (Anthropology); Sales Manager at Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond
  • Nicole Tilquist (Biology)
  • Gini Michels (Biology)
  • Bibi Rahimzada (Biology)
  • Andrew McCrory (Biology)


  • Anthony Aliamus (Biology)
  • Gillian King-Bailey (Biology); currently Ph.D. student in Anthropology at Tulane University
  • Natalie Hambalek (Biology; McNair Scholar); MS in Zoology from Oregon State; currently Internship Coordinator at CSU Monterery Bay


  • Kellyne Peterson (Anthropology; McNair Scholar) (May 2009-Dec. 2010); MA in Education from Sonoma State; currently teacher in Sonoma County
  • Marcia Brown (Anthropology) (Nov. 2007-May 2010) (MA in ITDS-Biological Anthropology from Sonoma State)
  • Shannon Hodges (Anthropology) (Mar.-Oct. 2007); currently Ph.D. student in Anthropology at Texas A&M University
  • Bonnie Lowery (Anthropology) (Mar.-Oct. 2007)

If you are a lab alum and would like me to update your career/education information, please email me.