Claim your curiosity.

Anna Goddard

Student Spotlight | Winter 2019-2020

Major: Mathematics; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Describe your research/creative work in just a few sentences 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 don’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.


Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?

A: When I’m not working on my project I am usually studying for my classes or spending time with friends watching movies or eating food.

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