Favourite Thing: The best thing about science for me is that you can change what you’re doing completely every so often….it saves me from getting bored! I love being out in the field, far away from anything, collecting data and samples.
Nelson County High School (Virginia, USA)
PhD evolutionary genetics, Murdoch University, WA; BS, The University of Virginia, USA, major in Biology, minor in Environmental Science
I have worked in the United States, in the remote regions of Western Australia, and in Perth.
The University of Western Australia, The Raine Study
Research Assistant Professor: I analyze data, write papers, and mentor newer scientists.
Me and my work
Right now, I’m looking at a big study of kids for clues about vitamin D and how it relates to their health.
I’ve done all sorts of different things. I’ve done environmental science in the US (looking at stream water quality), palaeontology with the WA museum (looking at the placoderm fish in the Kimberley), population genetics of barramundi (getting paid to go camping and fishing!), shark sampling in Shark Bay, developing a blood test for Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers), working with heroin addicted populations to get them better treatments, and now looking at kids’ health and vitamin D! Science is varied, and that’s the best part of it!
My Typical Day
Searching for answers!
Most of my day at the moment is spent thinking about the questions that I want to answer, writing the computer code that I need to answer it, running the programs, then looking at the data for patterns and clues. I also write the results up so that everyone else knows when I’ve found something important.
I preferred the science that I did when I was out in the field more often, but I have small children now, so for the moment, I have to stay closer to home!
What I'd do with the money
Bring Scientists in Schools to a few remote schools.
I have loved working with Scientists in Schools, where I visit primary schools and help the teachers with their science program. I have found that teachers mostly just lack confidence when teaching science…after I do a few cool demonstrations, or give them some ideas for making a subject more interactive, they have the confidence to do it themselves! I would love to visit a few remote primary schools and do the same thing for kids that wouldn’t normally get visitors and interactive science in their classroom!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Energetic, generous, and curious.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I only get to listen to what my kids allow me to listen to. At the moment, that’s One Direction and Katy Perry. Give me some better ideas, please!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I love to travel…so any time that I’m in a new and exciting place I’m having the most fun that I’ve ever had!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. More sleep 2. Instantaneous travel to anywhere in the world. 3. To be able to travel around sharing science with kids all over
What did you want to be after you left school?
A travel writer. I was going to write for National Geographic and travel the world.
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
Not as often as I should have been. I didn’t get caught most of the time!
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Working with the Scientists in Schools program!
Tell us a joke.
I’ve got two! How many evolutionary biologists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but it takes 8 million years! and…. A frog went to visit a fortune teller. “What do you see in my future?” asked the frog. “Very soon,” replied the fortune teller. “you will meet a pretty young girl who will want to know everything about you.” “That’s great!” said the frog, hopping up and down excitedly. “But when will I meet her?” “Next week in science class.” said the fortune teller.
Year four Netball, Year one Minkey, Peak Trampolining, Ripplebrook Vaulting (my kids’ teams!)
Anything with a Marshall kid in it.