Scientist Spotlight #9: Amy Nusbaum

Amy headshotIn this Scientist Spotlight post, welcome to Amy Nusbaum, an LPS pen pal for the past two years! In addition to this Spotlight, she’s written a guest blog post for us that will be posted in early March, so keep an eye out for even more about Amy’s unique perspective on the importance of LPS.

Tell us about yourself! Where do you live? What do you do?

I’m a Ph.D. student in experimental psychology at Washington State University in Pullman, WA – it’s about ten minutes away from the border with Idaho.

What did you wish you knew in middle school or high school that would have helped you stay excited about science, make a decision about college, or learn more about a particular topic that interested you?

You don’t always know how your interests may turn into a job or career. When I first got involved in psychology, I had no idea I could make a career out of it. Pursue the topics that make you ask a lot of “why” questions!

Amy with dogWhen and why did you decide to become a scientist? Why did you decide on your particular field?

I didn’t know about graduate school until I got to WSU as a freshman. I happened to take an Introductory Psychology class my first semester (I was a Genetics major) and fell in love. The instructor was looking for students to join his lab, so I did. I’m still in that same lab six years later and still love psychology!

Why is science outreach a priority to you?

As a first generation student, I had a very simplified view of science and had no idea that I could fit into that image. I want students to know that science is better off when everyone participates and we need their voices! I also work on a team that’s working on how to re-design syllabi to encourage retention of minority and first-generation students.

Amy at meetingWhat has been the most fun/inspiring/educational part of having a pre-scientist pen-pal?

My pen pals have encouraged me to think about questions in ways that I hadn’t before. When they ask me how the brain works, I have to really think about whether I know the answer to that question and how to answer in an age-appropriate way. As a scientist, that only improves my communication skills. At a more basic level, my pen pals make me so happy! They have such kind hearts and every letter I get makes me smile.

Are you a current pen pal in the program interested in being highlighted on the blog? Just fill out this form and we’ll get in touch!


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