As a quick reminder, these SAAS guest blog posts will feature a Q&A format that will hopefully allow you to learn about who these scientists are as people. I'll also be sure to incorporate plenty of links for you to have quick and easy access to social media profiles, websites, articles, and other means of finding out more about each guest's research. Please leave some comments and let me know if there are other questions you'd like answered, or scientists you'd be keen on reading about. Enjoy!
Pennsylvania State University - Biology and Anthropology
As a part of an REU program at Kansas State University, I developed a hands-on outreach activity about my research and interacted with public audiences through Science Saturday at the Sunset Zoo, a Portal to the Public institution.
I recently presented my summer REU research with Poecilia fishes
and won a poster presentation award at the 2017 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Phoenix, Arizona.
What are your top three favorite/coolest organisms?
I really like trees, but my favorite is definitely the Giant Sequoia. I find it hard to wrap my head (and arms) around how massive they are [see right].
I've always thought orangutans were pretty cool, probably because I share something in common with them - red hair!
My final organism would have to be any type of cactus because they remind me of the American Southwest.
Do plants count? I have a succulent named Paseo (after Paseo del Norte, one of my favorite streets in Albuquerque, New Mexico). Other than that, no.
A pretty big mixture of classical, big band, classic rock, country, jazz, pop, and Disney. I find Frank Sinatra’s voice incredibly soothing. Some of my other favorite artists are Mumford and Sons and Jim Croce. My all-time favorite song is American Pie by Don McLean.
It’s kind of a weird one, but I’d like the power to travel in paintings. It’s almost like setting foot in another person’s mindset or perception of reality. I would most like to travel through Impressionist paintings, especially Claude Monet’s. I have a copy of Monet's Cliff Walk at Pourville [below] hanging above my desk!
I really enjoy reading pretty much any genre of book, although lately I have been reading a good amount of historical fiction. When the weather isn’t too hot, I like to take nature walks and look at the different trees in the area.
My family or one of my close friends.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
My go-to travel spot is New Mexico [see left]. However, there are so many places I haven’t been to that I’d love to see. I would really like to visit Yellowstone National Park, Morocco, and Peru.
What language do you want to learn?
Definitely Spanish. My maternal grandmother’s first language was Spanish, and I think it is important to continue that part of my family history. Plus, it would be so useful!
That the study of anthropology has a rocky history. A good amount of early anthropology was racist, which had negative implications for both the cultural and biological subfields, as well as for society. I think it is incredibly important that we remember and acknowledge this, so as not to make similar errors in judgement. However, I’d also want people to know that anthropology is moving forward and increasingly combatting many of these early ideas to become the wonderfully diverse field that I believe it is.
In high school, I had to do a long-term project on any topic of my choosing. I chose high-altitude adaptations in human populations. After realizing how genuinely fascinated I was in what I read and learned, I decided I wanted to do similar scientific research.
Strengths: I’m aware of and curious in what I want to be researching and am determined to do and learn what it takes to answer the types of questions I want to ask.
Weaknesses: I feel like I can lose valuable time by not asking for help when I need it. As a full time undergrad, I find it difficult to not get sidetracked.
It’s hard if I don’t consciously set aside time every day to do things that are important to me. As a part of the Millennium Scholars Program at Penn State, I have to keep a written time planner and recorder. I always make sure to schedule at least an hour of “me time” every day to take a walk around campus, color, watch TV, or read a chapter in one of my books.
My dad. He is the most caring, selfless person I know. Just last week, he donated one of his kidneys to a family friend (and everything went perfectly for both him and the recipient). I am so proud to be his daughter.
Like: How it integrates the best of both anthropology and biology. I also like how I’m learning about how the past influences our present and future.
Dislike: Even though I know how my research relates to real life, sometimes I have a hard time seeing the direct impact on society.
Like: Working on projects I genuinely care about, as well as working and interacting with other engaged scientists at various career levels.
Dislike: The fact that it still isn’t very diverse. There seem to be considerable boundaries to entering, having success, and remaining in academia for many people
Physics and Einstein’s general theory of relativity. I especially find what people in this field have learned about time and gravity to be fascinating.
What do you do/need to get focused and get your work done?
The best environment for me would be a quiet room with no other people in it. To maintain high productivity, I also need to take breaks and give myself time to think.
What advice would you give five-year-old you? What about fifteen-year-old you?
Five-year-old me: Keep reading and re-reading Dr. Seuss [see left].
Fifteen-year-old-me: Every decision you make isn’t going to make or break your future. Relax and enjoy what you are doing.
I really like the idea of doing research and contributing to compelling questions by pursuing a career in academia. However, I still have some time before I definitely decide on a path! Regardless of what I end up doing, it is also important to me that I am involved with diversifying the sciences.