Grad Slam Finalist Profile: Animal Behavior Graduate Student Amelia Munson
Meet Amelia Munson, Animal Behavior Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist
Amelia Munson (she/her)
Program, Degree, and Year of Study
Animal Behavior, Ph.D., 6th year
Previous Degree(s) and College(s)
B.A. in Biology from Reed College, A.A. in Biology and Management of Zoo Animals from Portland Community College
Title of Grad Slam Presentation
Does What Doesn't Kill You Really Make You Stronger?
Describe your presentation style in three words
Enthusiastic, Fun, Fishy
What did you do to prepare for Grad Slam?
I "forced" my dog to listen to way more stories about developmental stress in fish then he would like.
If you are a returning Grad Slammer, what made you want to compete again?
Because of the pandemic I wasn't able to put into practice all the advice I got from the judges last year. I am excited to do that this time around!
What initially attracted you to your field of study?
My bird was my best friend growing up—she even "played" board games with me. I wanted to understand her completely. I now work with fish, but the desire to understand animals in their own language still fascinates me.
Grad Slam is about presenting complex ideas for a general audience. Why would people want to learn more about your research?
Fish are amazing. But if that isn't reason enough, I am really interested in how experiences shape who we are. I am particularly excited about how stressful situations shape long term behavior. If you are currently going through a stressful situation, like a year long global pandemic, my research may be of interest to you!
What do you like to do in your free time?
Go on adventures, which sometimes means multi-day backpacking trips and other times means getting lost in a good book.
Do you have any mentors who helped you develop your interest and strength in research communication? If so, how did they help you?
I learned a ton from working at zoos but at UC Davis, Laci Gerhart in the ecology department has been a huge part of helping me develop as a communicator. She has really helped me to appreciate the type of public speaker that I am and to be myself. Watching her teach has helped me to understand how important sharing enthusiasm is along with just sharing knowledge.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to teach at a liberal arts college where I get to continue doing research on developmental stress in fish and mentor the next generation of scientists. I will also hopefully have climbed a few more mountains and maybe even written a graphic novel.
Learn More About UC Davis Grad Slam Finalists
Good luck at the competition, Amelia. Be sure to read all of the Grad Slam Finalist Profiles.
Watch the Final Round Virtual Competition
This year, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has added a new video component to the already challenging public speaking event. The finalists will compete against each other at the UC Davis Final Round during National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week. Cheer on the Grad Slam finalists virtually on Thursday, April 8, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. RSVP to reserve your spot!
The winner of the campus final round will have the opportunity to compete at the University of California-wide competition on May 7. In 2019, UC Davis champion and Plant Biology Ph.D. candidate Katie Murphy went on to win the top University of California prize of $6,000. Visit the Grad Slam website to learn more about UC Davis Grad Slam.
UC Davis Grad Slam Sponsors
Graduate Studies would like to thank this year's UC Davis Grad Slam sponsors for their generosity and support.
The Office of Research serves as the primary campus resource for matters related to research and technology commercialization. OR provides services and resources to simulate research, facilitate collaborations, optimize infrastructure, ensure compliance and translate innovations into commercial applications for societal benefit. Learn more by visiting the UC Davis Office of Research website.
Public Scholarship and Engagement (PSE) is fostering a culture of engagement at UC Davis that increases the university’s impact through mutually-beneficial relationships that have local, regional, statewide, and global reach. We envision UC Davis research, teaching and learning that serves society and makes a positive difference in the world. Learn more by visiting the Public Scholarship and Engagement website.
Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 10,000 international students, scholars and leaders, and hosting programs that inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement. Compelled by the valuable outcomes of thinking globally, we make transformative opportunities a reality by supporting the thousands of students and faculty learning and researching globally—and by facilitating collaborations that tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through more than 150 global partnerships. Putting our vision of a UC Davis community that engages, thrives, and leads in this interconnected world into action, Global Affairs is in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Global Education for All.
About Graduate Studies
Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.
UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.
For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.