babyturtle_websiteThis is my first year living in Amherst, Massachusetts, and the start of my third year as the proud owner of long-haired cat that doesn’t stop shedding. Prior to Amherst, I studied at UC Berkeley in California as an undergraduate and completed my PhD in Madison, Wisconsin, where I balanced my interests in molecular neuroscience with natural history, ecology, and animal behavior.

I was interested in veterinary sciences until my junior year of college when I had the opportunity to try out research on marine invertebrate behavior in Australia. When a course required that I memorize songs of local birds (at the time, to me, birding conjured an exclusive image of strange old people looking at sedentary ducks), I was able to discover how accessible the diversity of my environment was. For me, birding was the gateway drug to rest of the natural world. I followed my growing interests in avian social behavior to work with Dr. Lauren Riters who studies how neuroendocrine systems underlie the motivation for animals to communicate. In addition to research, I have strong interests in education and science communication. In Madison I was involved in the Delta program, as well as Young Science Scholars (a project of Adult Role Models in Science (ARMS)), a program that pairs scientists with elementary school teachers to enhance science in the elementary school classroom.

thorsmork lookout

I spend my spare time with friends around Amherst, hiking, birding, playing piano and writing fiction. In the winter I hibernate, and am seen in lab or foraging at grocery stores, coffee houses and pubs.

Email: spool@umass.edu

Twitter: @jeremyspool