1. I am a biologist. I am tenured at a large state university in the SE United States, where I teach and do research on insect brain evolution.
2. Not surprisingly, I love invertebrate creatures, especially insects. I love learning how an animal with such a tiny nervous system is able to process sensory input, make decisions, and navigate the environment.
3. I love to travel. My job has provided me with the opportunity to travel all over the world. I have given talks in Russia, Japan, Puerto Rico, and all over Europe. I have collected insects all over the US and in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.
4. I lived in Tucson, AZ for three and a half years that I consider the best period of my life thus far. Southern Arizona is a beautiful place to live, and I found it very easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle of biking/swimming/hiking while I was there. This was particularly important to me as...
5. I have rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed when I was 16, which means I have had it for over half of my life. I've needed several surgeries over the years to fuse or replace destroyed joints.
6. I quit drinking alcohol just over 3 years ago. If a person really likes to drink and has a genetic propensity for substance abuse, I would recommend not choosing a career in academia, where functional alcoholism is almost the norm.
7. I am divorced. Heavy drinking is not good for relationships, as it turns out.
8. I am heavily tattooed. Like many women, I have had body image issues from time to time, and I have found that tattoos are a wonderful way to feel beautiful when I look in the mirror.
9. I never grew out of heavy metal music. I like just about anything that is detuned, distorted, epic and in a minor key (which, interestingly enough, means I rather like dubstep too). I also love the imagery of metal, which ranges from wicked awesome to totally cheesy. I know a lot of people hate Dimmu Borgir (above), but I absolutely love the imagery in their videos. Also, I have a thing for big guys with long hair, and obviously you see a lot of them in metal music.
10. I am a cat lady. I have three wonderful kitties. The oldest, Jasper, is 15 and has been with me since I was in graduate school. Jade joined me when I was in Arizona, and Bella appeared at my door, pregnant and disheveled, about 2 years ago. They are all fat and spoiled now, of course.