In fourth grade, my neighbor helped me dig up part of an ant colony and keep it in a terrarium. Over the next few days, an intricate series of tunnels emerged, yet no queen was present. Without any centralized control, the ants had collectively constructed a nest. Since then, I've been fascinated by collective behavior. Now I research ants for my PhD in the Gordon Lab at Stanford University.
In this picture, I am observing foraging honeybees as part of my research into honeybee stop signals.
Picture by Miguel Gutierrez
Honeybees have a dance language. Many people know of the waggle dance, in which a bee dances in a figure-8 to recruit other hivemembers to a foraging site or a potential new home. But have you heard of the stop signal? I have been studying how dynamics resulting from the stop signal can regulate foraging, and whether these dynamics can be modeled using equations from theoretical neuroscience.
Picture Coming Soon
MATH & SCIENCE EDUCATION
I tutor mathematics to high school students and have TA'ed multiple biology courses. From my coursework in Education, I have come to believe in Bruner's theory that advanced topics can be scaffolded so that they can be taught to children of any age. I search for new ways to teach mathematics and biology, and am trained in the Bootstrap Program for using programming to teach Algebra.
COMMUNICATING BIOLOGY THROUGH ART AND JOURNALISM
If a tree falls in the forest then does it make a sound? Biology needs to be spread accurately and in a way that appeals to a layman's audience. In college, I edited and wrote about new research in biology through Swarthmore Journal of Science. I have drawn some of the illustrations for my articles. I also helped spread an appreciation for people's roles in shaping their ecosystem by running a children's mural program with artists Angel Pabon and Desire Grover and farmer Terrence Topping-Brown.
Malnutrition due to lack of protein is a major world problem. At the same time, meat production, especially in the Western diet raises both ethical and environmental concerns. Protein is one of the bare necessities of life, so I'm interested in the potential of insects as a protein source, and also they look very crunchy. I'm planning to start growing crickets soon. Please contact me if you have ideas or advice!