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Anna Goddard (mentored by Maria Orive) featured in Winter Student Spotlight

Monday, December 9, 2019


 Major:  Mathematics, Molecular Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Describe your research/creative work in just a few senetences that we can all understand:  My research is in Dr. Orive's theoretical evolutionary biology lab where I am looking at the trait of partial clonality.  Partial clonality means that an organism can reproduce both sexually and asexually in the same lifespan.  I use mathematical modeling to describe how selection on partial clonality affects relative investment into either sexual or asexual reproduction when total reproduction is kept constant.

Q: Who mentors your project?

A: Dr. Maria Orive


Q:  What surprised you about doing research?

A:  I was surprised by how many different ways there are to think about the same research question and the many different paths that you can take to try to answer it.

Q:  What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project?  What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?

A:  When I started my project I was very new to the field of theoretical evolutionary biology and how to use math to model different aspects of biology.  What I found most challenging about getting involved in this project was that there was a lot about the field that I didn't know, such as how to use the math that I had learned, how to apply it to biology, and I had to learn how to code in C.  For any students facing similar challenges, I would recommend that you ask for help when you need it and on't be afraid to admit that you don't know something.

Q: What do you like most about your project?

A:  My favorite part about my project is that it has taught me to think in a different way and problem-solve in ways that I never got to learn from a classroom environment.

Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?

A:  I would tell a friend to find a field that they are interested in and look for professors in that field who have projects that they would like to join.


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