I need new business cards y'all! My time as a post-doctoral research associate at Cornell University is coming to a close. Fall semester 2016, you may call my Professor Lee. I am very excited to share with you all that I have been offered and accepted a position at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. Approximately 20 minutes outside of St. Louis (on the East side), I'll be joining the Department of Biological Sciences as a Visiting Assistant Professor.

Thanks to the vision of the Provost, I'll join the faculty to research animal behavior across urban gradients and teaching biology courses for both undergraduate science majors and non-majors as well as graduate related courses in general biology, urban ecology, anatomy and physiology and down the line course in behavior, science communication and hip hop evolution. I will continue studying African giant pouched rats; however, I'll be returning to my beloved prairie voles and other small mammals for my domestic research activities.

SIUE has amazing facilties and collaborative relationships with nearby institutions. I am excited about research possibilities examining animal communities, ecological interactions, and behavioral differences of populations of small mammals within and across the St. Louis Metro area on both sides of the Mississippi River.

When I met the department faculty, university administrators, as well as colleagues at neighboring institutions, and from other departments on campus I was overwhelmed with such positive energy. I met people who really loved what they do, who liked their colleagues - genuinely - and had an abundance esteem for their institution. I met people who liked their lives and who found joy in what they do and the students they serve.

Most importantly, they reminded me of something I declared I wanted professionally more than a decade ago.

It is through my teaching and mentoring experiences that I have developed a strong interest in scientific education.  Not only do I deeply enjoy introducing biological topics to students, but I also receive much gratification when I help students pursue their own research interests.  I would like to pursue an academic career at an institution that values the responsibilities of conducting research, teaching courses, and mentoring students.  For this reason, I am attracted smaller institutions, such as Research II or Master’s level universities.  If awarded the Dissertation Year Fellowship, I would be able to dedicate my entire efforts to the completion of my dissertation and submit chapters for publication.

I wrote those words in 2006 in a cover letter applying for a SREB Fellowship. The Southern Regional Education Board works to diversify the professoriate, among many things. I'm happy I knew what I wanted then and I am happy that I was reminded of those words, that wish -- because I had forgotten and was beginning to feel as if academia wasn't meant for me and didn't value what I have to offer. So I'm glad I put it out there. I'm glad I put myself out there. 

I'm excited about my next steps (there's so much more brewing and I'll be sharing this next turn with you all) and returning to the St. Louis metro area. 

In the mean time....