|What inspired you to become a scientist?
I have always been interested in animals,
particularly mammals. I also have a very curious
nature-I always want to know "why".
I am an Assistant Professor at UCSB in the
Department of Molecular, Cellular and
Developmental Biology.I teach Developmental
Biology and several other classes as well. My
research involves the study of fertilization,
using mainly marine invertebrates (sea urchins,
starfish, etc...) as model systems.
always liked nature and thinking about how things
worked, but I never really liked school. I grew up
on a dairy farm in Ohio and I went off to college
thinking that I would major in Philosophy or
English. But I took some science classes and then
worked doing real research in a lab--and I loved
it! I like discovering things -- it's hard work
but worth it! Also, my childhood hero was Mr.
Spock on Star Trek.
I liked finding out and figuring out how things
work, from how cells copy themselves and divide,
to selective bonding in chemical reactions, to
predicting trajectories of projectiles in the
Earth's gravitational field. In high school when
I took Biology, I thought it was fun. Then the
next year I took Chemistry and wanted to be a
chemist. Then I took Physics and was so
fascinated with how electrons, atoms, and even
everyday objects interact that I've stayed with
Physics ever since. I do sometimes wonder what
would have happened if I had had my science
courses in a different order during high school.
I think you could say my mom inspired me to become
a biologist. When I was a very small child she
noticed my interest in animals and encouraged my
curiosity. We always lived in houses that were
next to creeks and forests and she helped me
explore those habitats. I think that I was
fortunate in that she let me keep all kinds of
bugs, reptiles, fish and small mammals in my room.
I think that it was very important that she was
there see that these animals were well taken care
of and returned to their respective habitats.
Some of my favorite memories are of the times
spent watching spiders build webs and observing
the tremendous activity in an ant colony. I am
now the Collector/Naturalist for the UCSB
Biological Sciences Marine Laboratory where I am
still collecting animals and observing them.
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