Studying Bats and Learning to Adapt

Savanna Henning '20

“Central has a welcoming nature. I felt at home right away.”

– Savanna Henning ’20

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa
Major: Biology
Student/Faculty Research Subject: Bat Distribution with Professor of Biology Russ Benedict
Campus Activities: Cross Country
Scholarships: Presidential, Trustee and Central French Award

Savanna Henning ’20 didn’t aim to attend a small college. She had her mind set on a university experience. That changed when she visited Central’s campus.

“I was recruited for cross country and when I visited campus, I enjoyed it,” Henning says. “Central has a welcoming nature. People asked me about myself right away and I got to know them quickly. I felt at home.”

Henning, a biology major, conducted summer research with Russ Benedict, professor of biology. Prior to her research experience, which had her studying bats in field biology, Henning knew she was drawn to environmental biology but was unsure of her path beyond that. Henning’s summer research took her on a journey of self-discovery.

“At the time, I didn’t have a comprehensive view of how intricate field biology research is,” she says. “This research has given me perspective on myself. I still love environmental biology, but I discovered I definitely want to work in a position that interacts to a greater extent with people within environmental biology.”

Henning interviewed an organic farmer for her Oral History of the Family Farm course with Brian Campbell, director of sustainability education.

“That was fascinating and, I learned, more up my alley,” Henning says. “But each project allowed me to explore my passions and my future career interests. If I hadn’t been able to do each of them, I never would have known what these two areas of environmental biology were like, or which suited me better. So they were both great experiences.”


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