Madison Schwab, ’21, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Certificate(s): Certificates: Gender and Sexuality Studies, Global Health and Health Policy

I spent the summer in Antananarivo, Madagascar, as one of five Princeton interns surveying poultry vendors and collecting biological samples from live chickens. I was jointly responsible for entering, cleaning and processing data collected from the surveys,  as well as for performing DNA extractions on tracheal, cloacal and fecal samples. The aim of the project is to construct a poultry trade network within the country and — by combining survey and molecular data — identify target districts, regions or markets to inform livestock vaccination campaigns. While this has an obvious impact on food security and animal health in Madagascar, it also has implications for conservation and biodiversity. If small-scale poultry farms can reliably produce more protein for rural families, conservationists and wildlife veterinarians hope that poaching and the consumption of bushmeat will decrease. This project excited my interest in epidemiology and expanded my understanding of the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health in new and fascinating ways.

* This internship is connected to the PEI Urban Grand Challenges project, “Sustaining Diverse Income Streams in an Urban Setting.”