Thanks to everyone who voted - I'm super excited to have won, and can't wait to kick off my project with the prize money!!!
I grew up in the USA, but moved to Ireland for college and the PhD – right now, I’m at Trinity College Dublin
Since I grew up in the United States, most of my work history is from there. I worked at a wildness lodge in Alaska, a state park in Missouri, the Pittsburgh Zoo, the National Aviary (thats like a zoo, but just for birds)…all of these jobs were in environmental education…and I was an archaeologist for 6 months in Indiana!
I’m a PhD student
Trinity College Dublin
Favourite thing to do in science To come up with a really wacky question, and use science to explain it. I saw a scientific paper recently which was comparing Bieber Fever to real, infectious diseases – and it found similarities between how Justin Bieber has become popular to how actual diseases spread. This kind of stuff is hilarious, but shows how science can be used to explain things in real life – in a fun way!
I use samples from flamingo bums to find links between environmental and human health – because polluted environments can cause serious diseases for people!
My Typical Day
I walk into my office around 9, wake up with some coffee, and then the science fun can start! I make graphs, write about my results, read about other research – but I make sure to save some time so I can take a break to work on (fun!) outside projects in the afternoon. Then its time for tennis, swimming, running, or meeting up with friends – and then home in the evening.
What I'd do with the money
scienceXstudents.com! Science by students is an innovation in science writing. I’m going to pick 4 schools in Ireland and give 1 class in each the tools you need for reporting science – a digital camera, a voice recorder, and more! scienceXstudents will be a website where students like you write about funny, interesting, and/or important science issues, for people all over the world to read. (Because too much science is written by old people!)
Why should writing about and explaining science be the responsibility of adults?! My plan is to have students like you write about science on a website that can be viewed by people all over the world.
I want to pick four schools in Ireland, and give one class in each the materials necessary to write about science. What do you think you’d need? Each one will get:
1 digital camera
1 voice recorder (for interviews!)
Science writing guidebook
We’ll then do a mini-lesson on how to be a science reporter/investigator. You will then be given one ‘story’ to report on per month – you can do research online, in libraries, do interviews, take photos – whatever you think you need to put together an interesting article, report, or explanation.You can then upload whatever you do – the photos, articles, videos – to a website that we’ll make (www.scienceXstudents.com).
This way, people in Ireland and across the world – whether they’re younger than you, the same age, or older – will get a totally new, refreshing, and different perspective on important science issues.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative, funny, caring. I was having a hard time picking for myself, so I asked one of the other students in my office and this is what she said! Well, she said I’m ‘sometimes funny’ ;)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Oh! That’s a really hard question…I like so many different kinds of music! Right now, some of my favourites are Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, MGMT, Rihanna, fun., Kanye West, Of Monsters and Men…I could go on and on!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I once rode on a camel through the desert in Morocco – that was pretty cool
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be a marine biologist for a long time…I guess I’m close, since I’m researching flamingos (and they live in water!)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
You can’t get in trouble if you don’t get caught! ;)
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
One of the best things about being a scientist is having scientist friends, and I think the best thing I’ve done is to help one of them! She needed a LOT of money for her research project – which is a special system that cleans water for people in Africa who don’t have access to clean drinking water. With another few of our friends, we spent a month doing fundraising projects – and raised €24,000! So now she can build her system in a village in Kenya, so they can have clean water.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. A better voice (I’m the worst singer EVER!), and I’d especially like to be good at rapping. 2. To have a magical power where I can know the solution to ANY problem in science – so I can cure all of the diseases, cancers…everything! (And then I can tell the solutions to other scientists, like the ones in this group!) 3. To give 3 wishes to everyone in the world!
Tell us a joke.
(I made this joke up by myself, so maybe its not the best joke EVER, but I’m proud of it!) What is a dogs favourite part of a tree? The BARK.
Here I am on fieldwork in Spain (I’m the one in the middle with the bag). In this photo, we are just about ready to start capturing flamingos – it is SO fun, even though we had to wake up VERY early (4am) to do it!
This is me taking a sample from one of the flamingos (and if you want to know the details…from its bum – where there are lots of interesting bacteria). Don’t worry – it doesn’t hurt the flamingos at all, and we release them back into their habitats when we are done!
See!? I told you we released the flamingos! This little guy is headed back into the water to join his friends in the ‘creche’ (thats what they call it where all the baby flamingos are looked after by the adult flamingos). You can see some of them behind him headed back as well.
This is me talking at a conference in Berlin, last year. Sometimes I bring along this inflatable flamingo – he gets lots of attention from people in the audience. (I even got a prize for this talk, but I think the flamingo deserves most of the credit!)