#SciFund Rd 3 with Amy Truitt http://rkthb.co/11903

#Scifund Round 3 is underway and each day I will highlight a new proposal from the Challenge to give you a more in-depth understanding of each participant and their research.

Today I present Amy Truitt. Her research aims to study how butterfly STDs impact reproduction for conservation efforts.

Tell us about yourself, where you are from, and where you see yourself going.

My name is Amy Truitt, I grew up in Spokane, Wa. but have lived in Portland, OR for 11 years. As a kid I was always outside, fishing, playing, collecting bugs, but I was really passionate about playing sports. I never saw myself as an academic. I graduated high school with a 1.8 gpa! Now that I am older I have found a nice balance to satisfy my passion for athletics and my passion to follow my intellectual curiosity. I see myself as a professor in the next 10 years. I love to share my excitement for science. Somehow, I will also find time to coach young triathletes.

How did you get involved in your research project?

My research project found me, or picked me. I am part of a marine ecology lab and fate has brought me to researching symbiotic bacteria and the effects they have on conservation strategies. I generally start my talks by saying “I am not sure how I got here, but I am very happy to be here!”

Why is your research important to you? Why should others fund it?

I believe that conservation strategies are extremely important but they so often operate without full knowledge of the biology of the endangered species. Conservation strategies could be more successful and sustainable if we are developing them with more information on the species-specific biology of the imperiled animal. We specifically need to garner more information on the very important symbiotic relationships insect pollinators have with bacteria.  I am working with pollinators, and without pollinators we won’t have food to eat in the coming generations. I hope that others will find this project to be as exciting and as important as I do!

Do you have a favorite story that came from working on your research project?

I went to Costa Rica this past summer to become familiar with tropical butterfly species and the butterfly farm and breeders I will be working with. Paola, the woman who invited me down there, is also a triathlete. She signed us up to swim an open ocean nautical mile competition. Her boyfriend also signed up to compete. The first thing that scared me was that we had to put down our blood type on the registration form. I immediately thought SHARKS! On the drive to Jaco Bay we drove over a bridge that flows into the bay. Paola and I got out of the car and looked over the bridge to count….27 crocodiles!!!! That scared the crap out of me! They teased me and teased me! The entire swim all I could think of was those crocodiles! I finished the swim and am still here to tell you about it! They send me text message pictures of sharks and crocodiles all the time!

Why did you decide to particpate in the SciFund Challenge?

I have been searching for unique opportunities to get my science funded. A friend of mine brought SciFund to my attention and I thought I would give it a try!

What was the most difficult aspect of building your SciFund Proposal? What was your favorite?

The most difficult aspect of building my SciFund proposal was that the time frame was the same as another NSF proposal, so that it made it challenging to prioritize the two proposals. My favorite part is just being able to tell the story in my voice. My nerdy and excited voice.

Tell us something random. Something funny. Something borrowed. Something blue.

I am slightly OCD, as are most scientists, but I have this weird thing…I have a lot of athletic shoes (and other shoes too) and they are ALL lined up perfectly in my closet. It is probably one of the (many) things I am teased most about! Plus I love the color of my pants to match my shoe laces!

Amy your random story is peculiar to others, but I understand you! I too have a lot of shoes and they used to be lined up perfectly (but now I have less space so they are organized on a rack). While I don’t match my pants to my shoelaces, I match my shirt to my socks and my shoes to be complementary colors to that.

Thanks Amy for sharing your science! And to save you time from scrolling up, you can read about her project and contribute here.