A Passion for Baboons

One of the reasons I applied for this fellowship program, besides my interest in biology, was to discover what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to know if biomedical research was for me. With the help the culmination of my summer experiences, including the very insightful faculty seminars, I am now able to confidently say I believe I am following the right path for me. As each faculty member stood before us throughout the summer, I would look at all of them and say to myself this is what I want to do. A common theme a found throughout all of the speakers was a sense of passion. I could feel how every speaker radiated a certain passion for the work they are doing. And I believe this is a goal to admire and strive for: to have passion with what you do in life.

One speaker that I could feel had such a unique and admirable sense of passion was a speaker from our first week here this summer: Dr. Susan Alberts, professor of Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology. Let me start by saying I am usually more interested in cell and molecular bio topics rather than ecology or animal behavior fieldwork, yet I found myself enraptured by Dr. Alberts’ discussion on baboon social affiliation and its effects on animal fitness. First off, I found it amazing how Dr. Alberts spent countless hours in the field in Kenya dedicated to her work. Also, who knew the baboons could have such intricate social relationships. What’s more than that, the social relationships of these baboons could possibly translate into relatable outcomes observed in humans. Perhaps I found her lecture more interesting because this type of research was so different that what I am used to. Perhaps it was because baboons are pretty amazing creatures. But I also think a large aspect of her talk that captured my attention was her apparent passion for her work. Listening to her that morning, I hoped that one day I could feel the same about the work I was doing because for me there is nothing more inspiring than having passion in what you do like Dr. Alberts.

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