2011-2012 Luce Scholar

Michael Gründler grew up with two brothers, a sister, and, at various times, a Siamese cat, a black cat, a blue cat, two dachshunds, a golden retriever, several crabs, a salamander, and many colorful fish. His summers were spent in northern Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula, where he discovered passions for fly fishing, running barefoot, and searching out small, overlooked things in the woods and wetlands. While at school in southern Michigan, he cleaned horse stalls in a local barn and took long walks with his dog. He studied ecology and evolution in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University, where he also worked as an undergraduate research assistant studying the population genetic consequences of ecological specialization in frogs. He graduated with highest honors. Since leaving Cornell, he has worked as a field biologist and manual laborer. He still takes long walks in the woods, but finds it harder to keep running barefoot.