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Social sciences/Psychology

AAAS member Nancy Segal first became involved with the famous Minnesota Twins Study as a post doctoral fellow. This famous study began in 1979 when identical "Jim twins" received widespread media attention. These twins had been raised apart from infancy, both named Jim by their adoptive parents and neither knowing they were twins until at the age of 39 they found each other.

Both Jims suffer from tension headaches, bit their fingernails, have a passion for woodworking and vacation to the same beach in Florida. These similarities made many researchers question the role of nature vs. nurture, how much of who we are is determined by genetics and how much is based on the environments in which we are raised.

The findings of the study had implications in a large number of fields and were published in various journals. Segal has gathered this information into one comprehensive book -- Born Together- Reared Apart, the Landmark Minnesota Twin Study, looks at both the study, its findings about twins, and what the implications are today. You can find more information at her website,

Segal is a psychologist and director of the Twins Study Center at California State University at Fullerton. She herself is a twin, and has spent much of her career studying twins and what they can teach us about genetic predispositions and help us answer the question of nature vs nurture.

You can also check out her other podcast from her book Someone Else's Twin; the True Story of Babies Switched at Birth.

Students who have mentors and the encouragement found at the Emerging Researchers Network Conference are more likely to continue in STEM education, research finds, making it especially important for underrepresented minorities and women.