Meet Amy

Hi! I’m currently a PhD Candidate in UMass Amherst’s Organismic and Evolutionary Biology graduate program, working under the mentorship of Dr. Jeff Podos. I’m passionate about how the natural world works, and I try to learn something new about it each day. In particular, I research the strange and intricate ways that complex animal behaviors evolve and function.

Beyond pursuing my own research, I make it a priority to share my love of evolution, ecology, and the scientific process through education, mentorship, outreach, and science communication. I’m dedicated to helping build a scientifically literate, scientifically engaged public, and an inclusive and accessible STEM community.

Prior to graduate school, I had an array of experiences that led me to pursue a career in biology research and education. Some formative highlights include: discovering my love of early mornings while mist-netting dickcissels on the Konza Prairie, tagging horseshoe crabs during spawning at night with NYC Audubon, managing a dermestid beetle colony to prepare vertebrate skeletal material for the American Museum of Natural History, learning basic statistics by exploring the correlation between cost and taste of different rum brands while studying abroad in Costa Rica, and reflecting on the spontaneous dance battle I had with a stranger-turned-husband in the context of courtship behavioral ecology.

Next steps: I’m currently seeking post-doctoral opportunities! I hope to continue exploring questions in areas such as: communication behavior, signal evolution, acoustic ecology, sexual selection, neural/developmental mechanisms of behavior, etc. I have lots of ideas and I’m open to others, so let’s chat!

email: / twitter: @avstrauss

Currently based in New York, NY.