I never realized bird songs could be so interesting…

I have to say, the seminars have been incredibly interesting and a great start to my mornings. I like that we have been able to listen to a wide breadth of science being done a Duke and learn about all different types of fields and research being done. In our labs, we have been getting a very in depth look into one subject, but through the seminars we have been able to learn about all different types of research.

One of my favorite seminars was on something very unexpected: bird songs. Dr. Nowicki studies how birds communicate and how their songs evolve, and then uses birds as a model system to better understand human language and communication. This lab does not relate to anything I am studying and the field work they do is pretty different from the bench work I do in the lab every day. Quite honestly, I really did not think that bird songs could be very interesting. However, I walked out of Dr. Nowicki’s talk suddenly incredibly interested in bird songs! The way that Dr. Nowicki presented his research was engaging and easy to understand, so I felt like I had a good idea about what was going on in his lab without being overwhelmed. Additionally, I was interested in learning more.

All the talks have been incredibly interesting and got me thinking about all the different types of research out there. I do think the most influential parts of the talks, though, were the parts where the faculty told us about their career journeys and how they got to where they are today. Those stories really gave me a good understanding of what my career path may look like if I choose to go to grad school. They also let me know that there are many ways to get to the same place, and let me know that there is still time for me to figure out what I want to do in the future. Doing lab work right now is really awesome for whatever I may choose to do, but I still have time to explore my interests and find my path.

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