Woman smiling with mountains in background

Anya Auerbach

Research Q & A

What’s your hometown?

I was born and raised in New York City! St Paul feels like suburbia to me.

What are you currently working on?

As a first year Ph.D. student my focus right now is on learning as much as I can in my classes while beginning to develop a plan for my research. This award is letting me focus on those things without having to teach this year. This semester I’ve started learning methods for processing CT scans, which will let me study how things like bill or foot shape relate to a group’s evolutionary history.

How did you get started/what drew you to your area of study?

Despite growing up in a very urban environment I’ve always loved being out in nature, and I was especially drawn to birds at a young age because they are so easy to observe even in a big city. I became fascinated by evolution in middle school and never looked back. I love how evolution is simultaneously vastly complex yet often intuitive, as a framework for making sense of the world around me.

Where are you working on research/field work?

My plans are at an early stage of development, but I will probably be focusing on Malagasy birds for my Ph.D. research. A lot of that will likely involve visiting museum collections to collect data, but I hope to do some field work in Madagascar as well!


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