Secret Skills of Scientists


Fish, doll houses, and a Scientists secret skills

While the video starts off with a look through an amazing doll house, it’s a video about science. Promise.

Amelia Munson, Ph.D. Candidate, is an ecologist and grad student at the U.C. Davis.

She’s also the daughter of a doll house builder!

Growing up surrounded by doll houses

Believe it or not, growing up surrounded by doll houses had a big impact on Amelia as a scientist.

Part of that was being surrounded by people who were a little bit nutty, but also willing to follow their passions and dreams.

It was also the skills she developed in building.

Her mother’s doll houses are works of art. Amelia’s doll houses were more oatmeal box showers and had far more animals living in them. However, the skills of thinking about something that was 2 dimensional and turning it into 3 dimensional items has been helpful in her scientific study of fish.

Building for fish

Essentially, what Amelia is doing when she’s scientifically studying her fish is trying to build a doll house for a fish that enables her to ask a very specific question. Amelia is asking questions about the fish’s behavior, and often asking about fish behavior in the wild is very complicated. There are all sorts of other variables that can’t be controlled by a scientist.

So, she makes assay chambers, or tanks, to ask specific questions in. To do that it’s really helpful to be able to build a tank that’s within the specifications. Not just a rectangular tank.

Utilizing secret skills for science

Obviously, she’s never seen a call for an Ecologist that has “doll house building skills”. But, that is what’s made her into the scientist that she is!

This is true for all skills though. The recommendation isn’t to learn to build doll houses, but to follow your passions and do what you love. You never know what skills are going to help you in science!

In science, you will call on any number of things and unique skills you bring to the field. That’s what’s going to be helpful, and make you into the scientist that you are!

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