Hey! I’m Anecia Gentles, and I’m a graduate student at the University of Georgia in the IDEAS ( Integrative Disease Ecology Across Scales) program. I joined Ekipa Fanihy in January 2019 as a field team manager – dipping my toes into disease ecology and long-term fieldwork all at once. My interests shifted to disease ecology after working on a project that described the ecosystem function of lemur-mediated seed dispersal with my undergraduate advisor Dr. Amy Dunham of Rice University. I realized that conservation efforts benefit all of Earth’s inhabitants, and the importance of striking the balance between these goals and human needs becomes more and more apparent with each passing year. For that reason, I intend to study the various ways that human land use can affect the behavior of pathogen hosts – particularly bats.
As a newly minted graduate student, I am beyond grateful for the growth and experience I gained throughout my tumultuous undergraduate career, as a barista unsure that I would ever make it to this stage, and finally, as a part of Ekipa Fanihy. For POC undergraduates and high school students who may stumble across this page, I am always available by email for questions about the glamours and pitfalls of this journey. See here for a blog post summarizing my recent bat virus model review paper with Ekipa Fanihy!