"What do you want to be when you grow up?” was a question that always haunted me. As a kid who loved numbers, words, and nature, my quest to answer this question took me on a whirlwind adventure that has luckily not yet come to an end. Growing up, I wanted to be a paleontologist, a mathematician, an author, an evolutionary biologist, and a medical oncologist. In some crazy, wild way, I’m fortunate enough to be able to do all these things in my current position as a graduate student in mathematical biology at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Here, I’m passionate about developing and applying rigorous mathematical theories to solve pressing issues at the interface of cancer, ecology, evolutionary biology, and Earth history. Precipitating from my temperament as a uniter rather than a divider, my work seeks to find unifying theories across the natural world that can help us understand all sorts of biological phenomena, from the behavior of cells inside our bodies to the effects of global climate change.
Though conducting this research is undoubtedly a blast (except when my code magically stops working…), communicating my work to the broader public is equally as important. The power of storytelling to connect people in fundamental ways is particularly evident and critical in science. My scientific communication approach is twofold: firstly, to convey an unbridled (and hopefully contagious) excitement for the beauty of science and secondly, to use this newly garnered enthusiasm to share news of public importance and increase citizen participation in science.
This summer, I’m elated to work with the Miami Herald on issues pertaining to the Everglades ecosystem, local flora and fauna, climate change, and pollution. I’m grateful to the AAAS for providing me with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to the AMS for my sponsorship.