Alex loves that his “job” is a journey, both in terms of going through an academic program and also the lifecycle of each research project and that every day is a varied experience. The most rewarding part about science is how its an appreciation of nature.
Alex first became interested in microbiology through his undergraduate research experiences in plant-pathogen interactions. He really got into microbial ecology through a food microbiology course in college where he enrolled for his love of food and stayed for microbial ecological succession in fermented foods. He pursued microbiology as a means to ask questions about interactions between living things and their environment because we live in a microbial world. Microbes are the smallest living things, but through their rich social lives and collective behaviors, they influence and impact processes wayyyyy larger than themselves.
Alex’s advice to his younger self:
“Trust the process. Give it time. Be patient. Be kind to yourself. Invest in your physical, mental, and emotional health.”
What Alex would bring to a deserted island:
- Something practical, like a handheld mirror for signaling for rescue
- A snack, because Alex’s mind wanders to food too often
- Back to practicality, a knife
Alex enjoys cooking and eating out; potatoes are his favorite food group and he’ll try anything once! He also enjoys playing volleyball, a hobby that he picked up in college. He enjoys pickup games at local parks through the summer and fall, and also plays in local leagues and tournaments. He enjoys being out in nature, whether it’s biking along Madison’s many bike trails or walking through the woods.