*How did you get interested in applying mathematics to ecology?*

When I was applying for college, I had to apply to a major before I went to college. I was looking through the majors, and I saw applied math, and I thought, “Not bad. Check.” Later my professor said, “Well, why don’t you think about applications of math to biology?” When I went to grad school, I tried out neurobiology, microbial biology, and molecular biology, and finally ecology again and loved it.

*Did you do any research as an undergraduate?*

Yes. When I was an undergrad, I did two REUs [Research Experiences for Undergraduates]. The first one was based on immunology. I took a class and did some research on a topic. The following summer I was in the Math and Theoretical Biology Institute, where I studied spatial spread of influenza. That was my first encounter with math and ecology. That’s what planted the seed in my head, but it took me a while to determine that I wanted to pursue it.

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