What created your interest in Biology?
It would have to be my mom and my biology teacher in high school. My mom went to UT and got her Master's in biochemistry. She is now a Forensic Toxicologist, so I grew up hearing the stories about cases she had worked on and what biochemical analysis she was doing. I thought it was great. Then in 11th grade my teacher brought in one of the Discovery Channel Blue Planet movies. I was completely fascinated with the organisms in the ocean. The rest, as they say, is history.
What do you enjoy most about your studies or research?
The opportunity to have hands on experience with live organisms, the "requirement" of scuba diving, and overall just working with things that live in the sea. I love the water!
Why did you choose UT's School of Biological Sciences?
I bleed orange. That's it in a nut shell. I'm a third generation Longhorn. Plus, I really liked the fact that UT Austin has a Marine Science Institute on the coast in Port Aransas.
What's your favorite research tool?
EXCEL.... I do not know if that can be classified as a tool per se, but it sure works wonders, especially statistically, when trying to interpret data.
What are your career goals?
I am graduating in May, and from there I am planning on going to grad school. I am very interested in Marine Pharmacology - using resources from the ocean for medicinal purposes. I would love to research for the rest of my life. (In addition to having a family, of course...but I'll save that until after grad school.)
Are there any awards or special events related to your work that you'd like to share?
This past summer I lived in Port Aransas, attending the Marine Science Institute (UTMSI). It was fabulous - besides the MASSIVE mosquitoes, and when I say massive, I don't just mean a large amount, but incredibly large mosquitoes... that was the bad part. The good part was the classes. I know, you're thinking, "The classes, really?" But yes, that's what I'm saying. Our classes consisted of cutting open fish, riding an airboat through the marshes, taking a trip on the R.V. Longhorn down to South Padre to snorkel and look as seagrasses. In addition to these stimulating field labs (under Dr. Dunton and Dr. Nunez), I was able to work with Dr. Fuiman and Dr. Ojanguren. In their lab I studied predator evasion in red drum larvae. It was a great opportunity that I will never forget. Going down to UTMSI made me want to research, as a career, even more.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? What's that? Just kidding. Gotta have my daily SUDOKU game. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoy going to Posse with my boyfriend after a long day and getting an ice cold beer.
What fun activity would you recommend to an incoming UT student?
GET OUTSIDE!!! We have everything here. At Zilker park there's frisbee throwing,
swimming at Barton Springs, riding the train, seeing concerts; we have lakes for
water sports, hills for biking, anything you want. Sports is also big at UT - go
to a game - Come early, be loud, stay late, and wear orange!
Austin is also the Live Music Capital of the World! On any given night you can hear any genre of music that you want. Last thing to look forward to: the Food. I love food. Lucky for me I live in a city with some of the best local restaurants, all types of food, that you'll ever find. (Note: In no way, shape, form, or fashion am I referring to dorm food....I'm talking outside the 40 acres.)