itatiVCS. Photo provided by itatiVCS.

itatiVCS (@itatiVCS) is a Chicana from South Tucson, Arizona but I’ve been here there and everywhere. I love biology and ecology, and my ultimate goal is to be an applied ecosystems scientist somewhere in academia. I am a graduate student going for my PhD in Ecosystems Science and Management at Texas A&M University; my specialties are ecosystems science, ecophysiology, carbon cycling, and social justice witchery

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have an altar in my house dedicated to my religious deities with pictures of my family, a zillion candles, and stuffed animals (one represents my dog, baby).

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I speak Spanish

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Professional Makeup Artist

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Malaga, Spain: I loved the food there and the beach was amazing.

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

For me, watching Real Women Have Curves was pretty transformative bc it accurately illustrates the issues many Chicanx women face when they come of age.

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Nature hike with my little dog

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Coffee, whole milk, and my tiny dog (Baby)

15 What beverage gives you life?

Coffee always!

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Brave New World

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

A pharmacist

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

The idea that ecological knowledge can one day inform all management for the better

19 What got you excited in science?

I had a really amazing REU called PINEMAP that introduced me to ecosystems science, and the mentorship I got there as well as the actual science just really got me jazzed.

20 What excites you about science now?

I mean, nothing is more exciting to me than the large scale grasslands and savanna restorations and manipulative experiments happening at the moment

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Eating Domino’s pasta in the bread bowl

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I sing.

23 What is your favorite game?

I don’t have one, haha. I was very into Skullgirls for a while though.

24 What is the last book you read?

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

“You have to define what success looks like for yourself in grad school. You cannot let someone else define it for you and control you with it.”

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Riding a horse bareback

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Trust that nice professor from your biolab class, and when he tells you that you are worth it, he means it.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

For me, washing my makeup brushes or bristlebrushing my hair.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

That new Netflix documentary on Madeline McCann

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

bug oatmeal

31 What is your favorite animal?

Horses but also elephants

32 What is your favorite book?

Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

chicken and waffles

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Its not a discrete day per say, but I love when the spring ephemeral first bloom.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Prickly pear cactus

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Caterpillars have crochets on their feet which latch together like velcro to help them climb plants.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Cafe de olla smell or the smell when you sift cocoa powder in the sun

39 What is your favorite sound?

The piccolo in Son Lux’s “Lost it to Trying” really sends me to another dimension

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I love my big, strong body!

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Probably hugging my advisor at graduation from my UG and hearing him say “you did it!”

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Willow tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Free bus transit!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

The tooth in the front of my mouth is fake! My cousin knocked it out of my mouth by accident, but it’s why I don’t bite anything with the front of my mouth since I’m afraid it’ll break the fake tooth!

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Lars Brudvig (@lars_brudvig)