Emma Josephine Devereux

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Mountain

  • Organization
    Leiden University & University of Colorado Boulder

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My phd research project investigates plant nutritional variation across savanna landscapes in South Africa and East Africa. I investigate the evolutionary implications of varying nutritional landscapes with regards to proto-human diet, and potential food security solutions for the future.

  • Profile Question 1
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    I always loved science. I am from a farm in rural Ireland, and from childhood was fascinated by how plants grow and how they feed us. I attended high school in Ireland, at a time when girls were not encouraged in the sciences. I became disillusioned with the hard sciences, having taken higher level physics, biology and chemistry for my end of school exams, and decided to do a degree in archaeology. In my final year, my professor saw how passionate I was about science, especially ecology. She encouraged me to pursue a masters in environmental science. She reminded me that it was never too late, and that I was a hard worker and that was all I needed. I followed my heart, obtained my masters in environmental science, and am now doing a PhD in plant nutritional variation.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is tough about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I think that if you are a scientist whose research is novel, or intersects different disciplines, it can be tough to be at that crossroads. You must have many different skills to interpret your data and do your research, and you must have a lot of different knowledge to convince colleagues across the disciplines of the value of your work. I think of scientists like Carl Woese, the microbiologist who was repeatedly denied funding and publication, only to finally be recognised as having a discovered an entire new domain of life. Believing in your science and pushing on in the face of that adversity can be very tough.

  • Profile Question 3
    Can you share a funny/interesting lab or field story?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I collect samples from savanna habitats in South Africa. One day we were putting down a whittaker plot at a selected site. I could hear a bunch of vervet monkeys were nearby. I put down a wooden steak, tied the rope around it, and moved to the next steak. I drove down that steak, tied the rope, but it was slack. I turned around and saw a vervet monkey had pulled up the previous steak. I went back to put that back in, and turned around to see the vervet pull up the OTHER steak. This game of tennis went on for a bit, and eventually I sat down at the van to eat. Next thing I know, the bag of food was gone- and so were the vervets.

  • Availability
    I am currently available for mentoring, please send me team match invitations

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    4

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