During his sophomore year as an undergraduate pre-medical biology major, Dr. René Salinas realized he didn’t want to be a doctor. Instead, he wanted to go into mathematical ecology, which combined the things that interested him most: math and biology.
Salinas then went to University of Tennessee-Knoxville for his PhD and came to Appalachian State University in 2004.
Salinas said he chose Appalachian because of its location in the mountains, the students and his connections with Dr. Eric Marland in the Department of Mathematical Sciences who has research interests similar to his.
“It was the right kind of fit,” Salinas said. “The students are fun to work with and I think that’s because they really want to be here.”
Salinas conducts research on the modeling of wildlife populations and the management of those populations. He creates mathematical and computational models to increase the understanding of the populations and their environments.
Recently, Salinas has worked on models for black bear population growth in the southern Appalachian Mountains. He has also worked on the feral hog population in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Salinas enjoys mentoring and advising students on their own research topics, helping them get the most out of their degree from Appalachian.
“Really getting to know students in a more meaningful way than just the classroom and picking their brains, I enjoy that kind of interaction,” Salinas said.