It's a day to give thanks, and I have so much to be grateful for. I have been so blessed to have been given this opportunity. I have had so much help to make this expedition happen. The team at PolarTREC was always behind me and helped me through each step of the process. My San Antonio family, community and other classrooms have been unbelievably supportive. You have all stepped up and gone above and beyond in so many different ways to help me see this dream come true. I hope to share this experience with each of you and make this time productive as well. And of course, my family has been my greatest cheerleader with unwavering resolve that this was actually going to happen. I am truly thankful for each and every one of you.
I am beyond grateful for the warm welcome and helping hands of the whole B-207 team, and Dr. Todgham in particular. They included me and always made sure I was safe and had time to get done what I needed to get done. So, my final scientist spotlight is focused on Dr. Anne Todgham.
Meet our Primary Investigator- Anne Todgham, PhD.
Anne began her education with her BSc in Honors Biology from Guelph, Ontario Canada. This school has a strong fish physiology program that gave her a solid foundation. She went on to earn her PhD. in Comparative Physiology at the University of British Columbia. She worked on stress physiology in fish. As a young child in Canada, she always had an interest in science. She loved to explore tide pools, turning over rocks to see what she could find. This naturalist mindset set her on a path towards her studies of fish physiology in Antarctica. She currently holds a faculty position at U.C. Davis where she teaches classes, mentors grad students, and conducts a multitude of research projects. Her projects range from stress physiology in Antarctic fish, to sturgeon, salmon, and even invertebrates such as mussels. She considers her biggest professional achievement to be the work and successes of the grad students she has mentored. She loves seeing them grow and develop into scientists doing what they love and making a difference in the world. Her grad student, Andrew Naslund said, "Over the past few years Anne has been a phenomenal academic mentor and has been instrumental in helping me develop a scientific skill set. Learning from the rigor she puts into science makes me proud to be a part of her team. " Another grad student, Amanda Frazier says, "Anne is an important mentor in my formative years as a scientist and she's an excellent person to learn how to design research projects and experiments from. She has also been very supportive and encouraging in my goal of becoming a science diver and diving here in Antarctica." Dr. Todgham says that the most challenging part of being a scientists is when she runs across timing that she has no control over. In general, her projects are flexible and change with conditions. Her work in Antarctica this year provide examples of both. The team had no choice but to come down in August if they were to catch dragonfish eggs at the right time. She couldn't ask them to just hatch later. On the other hand, when the divers had no luck finding the species of fish she had set up to study, she easily adapted her protocol to accomodate what was available.
Her advise to students thinking about a career in science is to believe in yourself and listen to your mentors. Even if you are not a science "nerd", you can succeed in science. There will be times when you don't think you are good enough- trust those advisors and listen to their advise. She cautions though, don't expect it to be easy. It is going to be a lot of work.
In her free time, Anne enjoys traveling, gardening and photography. She also likes spending time cooking with friends, and has recently become interested in watching and learning about birds.
On Tuesday, I sadly said goodbye to my McMurdo team and friends. It is especially hard leaving knowing you will most likely never go back there again. I have met some of the most amazing people. I enjoyed and appreciated every minute of my trip. It is an opportunity given to few. I am thankful that I will be meeting with Dr. Todgham's team back at UC. Davis later this winter. Leaving is bittersweet though. I am very excited to be home and hang out with my family, friends and pets once again. I missed you all a lot!