IGCoffeeConvo with Susan Whitehead

November 20, 2020

Written by Gaelle Blanvillain

We resumed our IGC CoffeeConvo session over Zoom this Fall 2020 semester on November 16 with GCC faculty Dr. Susan Whitehead meeting with IGC fellows Isaac VanDiest, Korin Jones and Gaelle Blanvillain.  This was a great opportunity to not only chat about science, but also to interact in an informal way with each other, something that is becoming increasingly rare during this Covid-19 era.

Our conservation ranged broad topics, we all discussed what our PhD research projects entail, from foraging behavior in birds using cool techniques like metabarcoding, to the microbiome of frogs in the light of climate change and an emerging disease, chytridiomycosis, to the emergence of snake fungal disease in Europe, which could have devastating population effects.  We related our research projects to how Covid-19 has impacted our field season, and some of our future research questions.  We realized that we might have to slightly shift paths to make our research feasible while Covid-19 is impacting our lives.

On a more personal note, we also shared some of the struggles we are encountering, and how we are coping in this unprecedented situation.  This might take the form of drinking more coffee (and appreciating good quality coffee), spending time in our gardens, or enjoying cooking!

In the end, we all felt uplifted from our conservations and realized how positive and just nice it is to engage with each other and to remind ourselves that we are in this together.

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming virtual CoffeeConvo, contact Amber Wendler at awendler@vt.edu.  This is a great opportunity to share and engage with others!

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