Tidbits of Research
Episode 15 - Kaela Singleton

Episode 15 - Kaela Singleton

September 10, 2021

My guest today is Dr. Kaela Singleton, a developmental neuroscientist, currently completing her postdoctoral training at Emory University. Interested in understanding how the brain forms in normal and pathological conditions, she’s currently investigating mitochondria integrity and localization in Menkes Disease, a rare neurodegenerative disorder that affects the development of children. She’s a Black, Samoan, and Queer woman, grew up in Grayson, Georgia, got her Bachelor of Science from Agnes Scott College, majoring in Neuroscience and Classical History and Culture, and got her PhD in Neuroscience from Georgetown University. Currently, she’s also an adjunct professor at Agnes Scott College, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment fellow as well as co-founder and President-Elect of Black In Neuro.

We talk about her current work on Menkes Disease, her motivation to understand what makes a person a person, her passion for science accessibility, but also her search for a community within neuroscience, and the importance of sharing with others in academia not only when things are rough, but also when things are working out. 

You can follow her on Twitter, @kss_phd.

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

Episode 14 - Emily Riehl

Episode 14 - Emily Riehl

August 27, 2021

My guest today is Emily Riehl, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Johns Hopkins University. Her research is on higher category theory and homotopy theory, and we dive into category theory in our chat: what it is, what category theorists do, what kinds of questions she’s interested in answering (which also brings us to higher dimensional categories, so stay tuned for that!). She received the Association for Women in Mathematics’ 2021 Joan and Joseph Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry, she’s a co-host of the n-Category Café and was a founding member of Spectra.

We also talk about a few of the mathematical books she’s written, what playing Australian rules football was like (other than tons of fun), but also her interest in music (her old band, Unstraight, just released the EP they started recording back in 2015, and you can check it out here).

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

 

 

Episode 13 - Madalina Vlasceanu

Episode 13 - Madalina Vlasceanu

August 13, 2021

My guest today is Dr. Madalina Vlasceanu, a NYU Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow working in the Social Neuroscience Lab directed by Prof. David Amodio, where she’ll be working on biases in AI and how algorithms propagate human biases. Originally from Romania (so interviewing her was particularly exciting for me), she got her PhD from the Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University, and she also received an MA in Cognitive Psychology from Princeton University and a BA in Psychology and Economics from the University of Rochester.

We talk today about concrete tools she can employ as a cognitive scientist to decrease belief in false information, her exploring new research interests after finishing her PhD, as well as how people incorporate direct evidence to change their beliefs and whether the source of the information or evidence matters (spoilers, it sure does!).

 

You can follow Madalina Vlasceanu on Twitter, @vlasceanu_mada. 

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

Episode 12 - Drea Darby

Episode 12 - Drea Darby

July 30, 2021

My guest today is Drea Darby, a doctoral student in entomology at Cornell University working on host-microbe-environment interactions, as well as a recipient of a 2020 Ford Foundation predoctoral Fellowship. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. We chat about vinegar flies (and I get a bit of a crash course in transgenic fruit flies), the moment she realized she wants to do research, as well as her advocacy for including the history of science in the scientific curriculum. A “trailblazer for her family” (in her words), Drea talks about her experience being a first generation college graduate, her transition from planning to attend nursing school to becoming a bio major (and later on planning to pursue a PhD), and her goal to “be the thing she didn’t have in her life” as a Black and Filipino woman interested in science.

Episode 11 - Jennifer Pierre

Episode 11 - Jennifer Pierre

July 16, 2021

I am joined today by Dr. Jennifer Pierre, a human-computer interaction researcher and information scientist, currently working as a user experience researcher at Google. She received her PhD from the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, holds a Masters of Library & Information Science from the same department, and a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Cornell University. Broadly, her work examines how people use social, digital, and interactive media to form and maintain communities.

We talk today about her interest in understanding how people work, in studying how day-to-day life intersects with technology, how she figured out that she wanted to pursue the PhD path, as well as part of her teaching philosophy, on the importance of transformative learning experiences.

 

You can follow her on Twitter, @drjenpierre.

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele. 

Episode 10 - Eve Vavagiakis

Episode 10 - Eve Vavagiakis

July 2, 2021

My guest is Eve Vavagiakis, a Provost Diversity Fellow who recently defended her PhD thesis in the Physics Department at Cornell University. She works in Professor Michael Niemack’s experimental cosmology and astrophysics lab. She’s Co-Director of ParticleBites, the high energy physics reader’s digest blog, Co-lead of the Simons Observatory Education and Public Engagement Working Group, has done lots of cool outreach including a book for children on neutrinos.

We talk about how we actually don’t yet know how much space stuff there is, how looking at the cosmic microwave background (CMB) helps us understand galaxy evolution, what information the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) has been giving us, but also what being part of the team building the ultimate telescope is like, or the importance of starting research as an undergrad. 

 

If you want to know more about the data products from ACT that we talk about in the episode, they can be found here: https://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/product/act/.

 

You can follow her on Twitter, @EveVavagiakis.

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

Episode 9 - Nancy Ruiz

Episode 9 - Nancy Ruiz

June 18, 2021

My guest today is Nancy Ruiz, a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Chris Schaffer. She’s currently working in understanding vascular inflammation and capillary stalling in Alzheimer’s disease mouse models. We talk today about biomedical imaging and its application to understanding Alzheimer’s disease better, Nancy Ruiz's process of exploring her research interests and deciding to work in biomedical engineering, as well as her involvement in different science communication initiatives.

 

You can follow her on Twitter, @NancyRuizU.

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

Episode 8 - Laura Yan and Maddie Reynolds

Episode 8 - Laura Yan and Maddie Reynolds

June 4, 2021

My guests today are two very dear friends, Laura Yan and Maddie Reynolds. Laura is a PhD Candidate in history at Columbia University, and her research focuses on changes in migrant port workers' everyday life in Singapore from 1945 to 1979 and Indian Ocean networks of migration and capital that connected Singapore with Hong Kong and Bombay. Maddie is finishing up her PhD in English at Cornell University, studying representations of animals in a few 19th century novels (like Frankenstein or Alice in Wonderland), and she has accepted a Humanities Scholars Program postdoctoral fellowship position with the Society for the Humanities for the 2021-2022 academic year. We talk today about research in the fields of History and English, the similarities between these two fields as far as pursuing a PhD goes, transitioning to writing for your thesis, as well as how they felt undergrad prepared them for grad school. 

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

Episode 7 - Logan Schmidt

Episode 7 - Logan Schmidt

November 11, 2020

My guest today is Logan Schmidt, currently a curriculum developer at Smithsonian Science Education Center, in Washington DC. She did her undergrad at Wellesley College, majoring in Biology and Classical Civilizations, and later did a Masters at Boston College in Secondary Science Education. We talk about field research, penguins, how to best engage with our communities, and the challenges and joys of curriculum development. 

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

Episode 6 - Perry Roth-Johnson

Episode 6 - Perry Roth-Johnson

October 16, 2020

Today, I am joined by Perry Roth-Johnson, an aerospace engineer and science educator. He’s currently an Assistant Curator of Aerospace Science at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California. We talk today about the Space Shuttle Endeavor, his numerous and varied projects at the California Science Center, the purpose of museums in our society today, but also his path to his current work from his undergrad in mechanical engineering and his PhD research on wind turbine design. 

 

We talk about Perry’s podcast, “Ever Wonder? from the California Science Center”, towards the end of our chat. You can check it out here.

 

Our music is “float-and-fly” by goldguardtele.

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