Pennsylvania State University, Department of Anthropology - NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow
Grogan, Sauther, Cuozzo, Drea. 2017. Ecology and Evolution.
Making evolution stick: using sticky notes to teach the mechanisms of evolutionary change.
Lee, Grogan, Liepkalns. 2017. Evolution: Education and Outreach.
All of them? It’s easier to ask me which animals I think are NOT cool, which is basically none. I could do without some of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria & things like Ebola, but I still think they are super cool.
I love reading for pleasure, running with my dog [see below], and hiking. I run with the dog 3-4 times a week and try to read 2-5 unintellectual fantasy or romance novels a week. I also crochet but I’m terrible at it.
I typically vent to my dad, who is my best friend and who I talk to basically every day while walking the dog. I also vent to close friends from my time in college, grad school, and as a postdoc. I’ve been really lucky in that I have a pretty large (n=10-12 people) who would drop anything to help me and whom I consider to be my best friends. Someone is usually available!
I’d love to improve my French. At one point I could read French well and my accent isn’t bad, so for example I can get by in Madagascar where the official languages are Malagasy and French, but I’m really rusty now.
Oh man, this question is the hardest for me. My To Go travel list is basically everywhere, and I’ve slowly been ticking off places. Next year, I’m hoping to go back to South Africa or maybe New Zealand! With unlimited funds and time though, I’d probably go see the whale shark congregations in the Maldives.
Publishing yearly Nature papers? But that’s probably not an option, so maybe talking to animals. I *think* I’d love to know what my dog is thinking although I may regret that choice later.
Really bad music. Seriously. Embarrassing confession time - I love bad 90s and current pop (think BSB, Britney, and NSYNC), country music, musicals, and bad rock music (think Nickelback and 3 Days Grace). This means I never subject anyone to my playlists in the lab.
Two things: From the field of genetics, I’d love people to know that genetics are not the magic bullet answer to everything. Just because we can sequence a stretch of DNA doesn’t mean we can cure all diseases immediately. From the field of conservation/anthropology, I wish people knew that primates (and wild animals in general) do NOT make good pets.
How do you attempt to maintain a work-life balance?
I own a dog, which means I can’t spent 12 hours a day in lab every day because he’ll poop on the floor. Because I have to leave work at a reasonable time, ‘work-life balance’ is just a little easier to maintain. He’s a high energy dog, which means I exercise him almost an hour ever day, plus 45 minutes of other dog-related things. It’s a really important enforced daily break for me. Also I push back very hard in my head against my own guilt that I’m not working all the time. Having done the research in my own life, I know I’m more efficient and produce better quality work if I’m rested, both physically and intellectually. So I try really hard to avoid the 80 hour work week lifestyle that scientists can fall into.
Super early. Basically after I gave up my 6-year-old dream of being an Olympic figure skater, I decided I wanted to be on National Geographic studying tigers in India or wolves in Alaska.
Strengths: I’m super organized and persistent, which makes me good at troubleshooting. Since research is basically fail at something over and over again (sometimes for years) until you figure out how to make it work, this skill is handy.
Weaknesses: I am TERRIBLE at estimating how long a task/project will take me. I am routinely off by months/years.
What do you like/dislike about academia (AKA research/higher-ed community)?
Like: I love the flexibility of academia, I love the constant learning, and I love having great collaborators who make research exciting and easy.
Dislike: I really dislike some of the things we would like to think of as “holdovers” from previous generations – things like harassment or discrimination which still happens shockingly often in academia, and the super prevalent ‘work until you drop’ culture. I’m hopeful these things are starting to change, but I’m honestly not holding my breath that ‘this generation’ will solve these problems, just hoping we move the needle a little.
I am completely fascinated by a field tangential to mine, which is infectious disease. I read Richard Preston’s Hot Zone in middle school, and was hooked. I loved reading The Demon in the Freezer, The Ghost Map, and Beating Back the Devil, somewhat obsessively followed the Ebola outbreak two years ago, and secretly would love to be part of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service.
Coffee. Snacks. Gchat. It really depends on what I’m doing, but generally I need quiet (so no coffeeshops for me!) and sometimes someone to just chat with online. It helps break up what I’m doing and makes me more likely to sit for longer to get it done with a better attitude once I’m finished. If I’m on a crazy deadline, I focus write to Linkin Park and I often analyze data while listening to Harry Potter or Jane Austen.
I’d really like to continue with my research career and get back into teaching as well. I’d love to go back to Madagascar, and expand my research to other countries as well. I’d also like to find a way to include policy and community action in my work, to assist the local communities in improving their lives and integrating conservation successes into the bargain.
I love this Sully Asks a Scientist series! [Aww shucks, thanks Katie :)]