Hallo!

allison

Pygmy Octopus
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Hi there! I have been following the TONMO forums for a couple of months now and have finally decided to become an active member. I am a psychology student hoping to finish my undergrad degree by the end of 2012 at Texas State University and go on to study cephalopods in grad school. My interests lean toward paleontology, neurobiology, and behavior of cephalopods. I had the opportunity to do a bit of volunteer work at the Nonvertebrate Paleontology Lab for the Texas Memorial Museum this past year but have, sadly, been forced to take a break while I work a paying job.

I am absorbing as much information as possible via books, articles, and the internet but I'm a bit nervous about making the jump from "liberal arts" to neurobiology or biology of cephs as a graduate student. Has anyone else made this switch successfully? Is there anything I can do to prepare or to convince my future supervisor(s) to accept me as a research student? Any advice is appreciated!

In closing, here is a photo of me from this past summer with the world's largest ammonite, (which I believe has been posted in the forums before.) It is on display at the LWL-Museum für Naturkunde in Münster, DE.



-Allison
 

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CaptFish

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:welcome: to TONMO

Very cool!! so far i have taken a few psychology courses as electives while i work on my biology undergrad. Very interesting stuff. It has really helped me to understand a lot about development, behavior and intelligence, which are what i would like to study in octopuses.


Holey huge fossil batman!!! :ammonite:
 

allison

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Thanks for the warm welcome!

@tonmo - Yes, I believe that's the same one! You can even see the giant bivalve impression on its left side. I saw the other two fossils in the older picture while I was in Münster as well.

@CaptFish - Psychology is definitely interesting, but I find that the more I study, the less I care about the psychology of humans! (I went into psych thinking I was going to be a counselor but after trying it out, I hate counseling.) Now that I've become interested in, as you said, the 'development, behavior and intelligence' of cephs, its interesting to consider the degrees of anthropocentrism in most psych textbooks..
 

robyn

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Hi Allison, Welcome! Where's Texas State? I ask because I'm at UT Houston medical school. I (and my PI) work on behavior and neurobiology of nociception and pain perception in molluscs, using aplysia and squid, along with more biomedical areas like chronic pains in humans.

I don't think jumping from liberal arts to a science grad program is an impossible task. If you're a good learner you'll pick up what you need to know fast enough. I switched from a PhD in evolutionary biology to a neuroscience post-doc and I think it would have been a lot easier if I'd switched into neuroscience while still a student. So my advice would be - the sooner the better, if that's where you want to end up.

For things that will help convince potential advisors to take you on without a science background - if you are a good writer, that will make a big impression. Many scientists are horrible writers so it's a very marketable skill. Good critical thinking skills. Volunteer lab experience or work in a museum will also serve you well. You don't necessarily need a firm idea of what you want to work on before you start, so don't worry too much about having firm research ideas in place before you look for a grad program or lab that would suit you.

Great photo, btw.
 

Terri

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:welcome: allison, that is a great pic. and that's a great old thread Tony, thanks for dragging it out of the depths of the fossil forum.
 

DWhatley

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:welcome:
It is always fun to have grad and post grad students who can report on what is going on "now" in the ceph world. The only problem is school/research keeps them so busy we don't get enough updates :biggrin2:
 

gjbarord

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Welcome Allison! As everyone has said, if your new career path is something that you really want to do then you should not have a problem making the switch. Might be a little bit more background reading and work that you would have to do but if you love what you do, it won't be a drag on you (at least not all the time). Keep us up to date on your decisions!

D is definitely right about those other grad students and lack of updates....:lol:

Greg
 

allison

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Hi everyone! And thanks for the advice!

@robyn - Texas State is in San Marcos, close to Austin. Does your lab give tours for perspective neuroscience students?? :mrgreen:

That reminds me: Does anyone know if the NRCC is still functioning and in Galveston? And do they give tours for students?
 

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