Investigating Gender Dimensions of Wildlife Trafficking
So thank you so much again Elena for spending time with us on breaking green ceilings really appreciated. So we're here today to talk to you about your journey in pursuing a degree in Zoology and in particular your research interest in the gender dimensions of urban push me trafficking which should be a very interesting conversation and I'd like us to start from someone the beginning and that is if you could tell us how did you develop your passion for the natural environments? Yeah, so I'm originally from Michigan. I've grown up in Michigan and I spent most of my childhood going to the Detroit Zoo like my family had a membership and that's where I spend like all my Summers would just be going to the same with my grandparents and I used to keep like this dinky little composition notebook and I would just fill it with animal facts. So it's always just been like a huge passion for me with wildlife and with my own pets at home. So it's just kind of been a part of me for as long Remember really is there a specific or specific exhibits that you enjoyed? I love anteaters. I really love animals with weird noses. I have no wage. But yeah, I was just thinking of all the animals with weird noses Nas elephant yet opens artworks links long noses salamanders. Yes. There's just like smushed their to their faces, right? Yeah funny interesting fact so long and I guess that's how you decided that you wanted to pursue a degree in Zoology then yeah. Yeah. So just having that I ever run from like my high school or life my town you went to Michigan State or you went somewhere else in Michigan and I knew Michigan state had a really great zoology program, so I ended up going there and I really enjoyed it. And so how did you suck? Moving from high school system to a college system can be quite daunting. I know it was for me as a foreign student. How was that experience for you transitioning? So, I had actually didn't go to MSU for my freshman year because I was kind of a Wanderer and I wanted to try different like go to a different state and try something new. So I spent my freshman year in Vermont a small College called Green Mountain College and I went there for a year and we're studying animal conservation and care. They're so from my high school where I had two thousand people. I went to a school that had four hundred people and then when I transferred to State they had fifty thousand. So yeah, it was very extremes. Yeah, very huge extremes. I think it was awful difficult. Just trying to find like my people in my community, but being able to figure that out kind of quickly, I think was really helpful for me and being able to make that transition, right and what time Mean by your people so finding people who like share the same interests as me or have like the same goals within their life and like what they wanted to do was really impactful. So the summer before I transferred to Michigan State, I did a Wildlife Rehabilitation internship and I met some of my very close friends that I'm still friends with today. And that was about two years ago that I meant that we were still really really close because of that. Yeah, that's a really great way to transition now into a bigger Community I guess and I was really intimidated when I was looking for black colleges and universities. I ended up going to a small liberal arts college and I think we were maybe like 300 to 400 students and it felt very comfortable cuz I guess you know everyone sometimes that can feel uncomfortable too because everyone knows you yeah, especially for an introvert so and then just thinking about how massive em Who is and other similar institutions it may feel like you're just a cow like a cattle station one. That's a bad analogy because yeah, cuz it's a good implications of getting slaughtered in-depth what not. I mean, it just feels like yeah really overwhelming. So then how does it work in terms of determining? What courses you should be taking in order to fulfill the requirements for the degree? And do you have like somebody who guides you through that? So I was really lucky when I transferred because I was off first student from my previous college to transfer to Michigan State and I was you honestly didn't really know what to do. So they just kind of accepted all my credits and then if I said something qualified, they just accepted it was really nice. Yeah. It was really nice and my degree is pretty flexible because with in Zoology you take like the basic science classes and then at State you have a dog Frustration and my concentration is very very flexible. There's not that many courses. So it's helped me a lot with my research is where I'll find like a gap in my knowledge or something and I'm able to take classes that still count towards my degree in some capacity.