Pennsylvania State University - Anthropology Ph.D. Graduate Student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow
My favorite primate group is definitely the gibbons. They honestly just look like hairy, long armed humans. AND they walk bipedally at times.
Angler fish are also pretty amazing. What other female sex in a species carries around dead males as sperm sacs? FEMALE EMPOWERMENT.
The second organisms that came to mind are tardigrades because, seriously, who doesn’t like tardigrades?
I’ve always wanted to learn Swahili. Back in the day when I thought I was going to be a paleoanthropologist, I thought learning Swahili would be great for conducting field work and connecting with locals. Although my career plans have changed dramatically since this time, I never lost interest in learning this language.
Oh, man. This is a hard question. I would love to go to southeast Asia and see gibbons and orangutans in their natural habitats. I hope to be able to do conservation work there in the future.
I really suck at this question. Every time someone asks me this, I have a different answer. I think mind reading would be a great superpower but also weirdly too powerful and now that I think about it I don’t like it anymore. I’ll just resort to teleportation because I feel like everyone would love the ability to travel instantaneously.
I listen to all kinds of music, except for country. That genre never really stuck with me. But I spend the bulk of my music-listening time on Pandora listening to my Dr. Dre station (and all the wonderful music that comes with that station) and my Backstreet Boys station because I’m a 90’s kid.
When people hear that I am studying anthropology, they typically ask me what group of people I plan to study. I feel like this view of anthropology doesn’t encompass just how diverse this field is, and how many cards you could hold as an anthropologist. For example, I don’t solely identify as an anthropologist, but also a biologist, geneticist, and conservationist. I am all of these, even though I am studying anthropology.
I knew I loved science from an early age. Biology was my favorite subject in high school, but I never realized what careers there were for people interested in science. To be honest, I assumed becoming a physician was the only way to go. When I started doing research in college, I realized that I could be a scientist, not just a person interested in science. That’s when it all really clicked for me.
I would say that I am very self-motivated. I can do things without others pushing me to do them and enjoy pursuing my own variety of projects. I would say I have two big weaknesses. The first is my anxiety and how very small things can influence how anxious I am. My second weakness is my thin skin. I tend to take things really personally, even if they are not intended as so. I am hoping that graduate school will help me build up a better barrier against harsh criticism and be more open to constructive criticism.
To be honest, this is not something I am good at. This first year of graduate school has been difficult for me in this way. I have a difficult time not working on school and research projects. And even when I am not working on them and trying to relax, I am always thinking about working on them. I do have great friends that I socialize with [left] regularly to keep me from going insane. At the moment, that’s my best strategy.
Like: I can answer my research questions from so many perspectives. It really gives an integrated feel to what I’m doing and I think that’s important.
Dislike: That being said, being able to answer questions from many perspectives also means you have to learn skills for each of those. It can be daunting and at times demoralizing.
Like: I LOVE being in an environment where I am constantly learning, both from class and from other amazing scientists who I get to call my peers and friends.
Dislike: I worry sometimes that academics are too involved with themselves.
What is something that fascinates you from a field that is not your own?
ASTROPHYSICS IS MIND BLOWING. I’ve always said that in another life I’d be an astrophysicist. I am fascinated by space exploration, planets, the universe, and understanding how life may develop on other planets.
Who would you say is inspirational?
This is a hard question for me. I tend to think of individual attributes in people that are inspirational, not the individual themselves, because no one is perfect. I don’t really have idols for this reason. This may sound odd, but I would say that my 4-year-old niece Emily [right] is probably one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. Her spirit and curiosity for the world inspires me to retain that childhood wonder, and I think this can translate into becoming a good scientist.
R&B music and a quiet environment.
Five-year-old me: It’s ok to fall down and spill drinks all over your food. Don’t be so concerned about getting in trouble.
Fifteen-year-old me: Worry less about making the perfect grade and instead focus on what learning means to you.
I love the idea of doing research the rest of my life, but I don’t think academia is the place for me. I see myself potentially working in a museum as a curator and doing conservation work, while engaging with the public regarding my research.