Community Spotlight: Rachel Penczykowski

"I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and in Immokalee, Florida. We lived about an hour inland from the Gulf Coast side of southwest Florida in an area just barely north of the Everglades. I was surrounded by incredible biodiversity and wildlife such as alligators and lizards and birds and snakes and many other critters that were pretty awesome. I spent a lot of time playing outdoors with my siblings and friends. I would lead my younger siblings and their friends on backyard safaris. They each received a brochure that I made. There are photos of my brother and his friends holding clipboards and rulers. I had them measuring pine cones and sticks.  Even as a child, I enjoyed leading a team of people who would investigate what I am curious about. Now, it is mind-boggling to me that this what I get to do every day, to dig into interesting questions. Being a P.I. with my own lab and setting the agenda for what we're going to pursue next is freshly exciting every day."

Interviewed by Rachel Becknell

For more community spotlights: Check out the gallery