Amanda Tokash-Peters
Amanda Tokash-Peters. Photo provided by Amanda Tokash-Peters

Amanda Tokash-Peters is a 3rd year PhD Candidate in environmental biology at UMass Boston. She studies interactions between mosquito microbiomes, the environment, and pathogen transmission and has a special place in her heart for coffee and cats. Follow her adventures in the US, Rwanda, and elsewhere on Twitter and Instagram @ATPsciencegirl

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

I have an awesome (read:sassy) tripod black cat

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Yes, quite a bit actually! Most of my art has a science theme and I have a common cold hand soap dispenser.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I speak a little bit of Spanish and I’m trying to learn French now.

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

I would be a musician, specifically a singer.

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

Coastal Ecology, with a focus on sea otters

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


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

The ability to understand all languages, including animals

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

This Podcast Will Kill You is my favorite, and Gastropod is a close second. I’m also a big Game of Thrones fan, so if you *haven’t* started watching, I highly recommend doing so immediately!

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

Swim, Bike, Run- not necessarily in that order

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

Coffee, My family (includes my cat), and Post-it notes

15 What beverage gives you life?

Coffee. Dark or medium roasts primarily, but I’m cool with anything decent!

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

Harry Potter (all of them). I always wanted to be like Hermione and I think I may have internalized that a bit.

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

A veterinarian, particularly so I could help sick animals.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Wanting to make some kind of positive difference for people subjected to the burden of mosquito-borne disease. Also, coffee.

19 What got you excited in science?

My high school freshman Biology teacher. I had some great science teachers before that (and my dad is a science teacher too, so that certainly didn’t hurt), but Ms. Penna was definitely the person who pushed and challenged me, which ultimately made me fall in love with science.

20 What excites you about science now?

Getting creative and actually finding good solutions to tough problems. I love solving puzzles.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Going to the beach. (This doesn’t happen enough!)

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I’m a good singer, but only a few people I work with know that I used to sing or perform at all.

23 What is your favorite game?

Tough one. Pokemon video games have been my favorite since I was a little kid, but I really like the board game Evolution too. Apples and Oranges, I guess?

24 What is the last book you read?

We Should All Be Feminists- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (highly recommend any of her work)

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

Don’t be afraid to be yourself and be bold. Dream big, and fail bigger. It’s how you learn to be the best you possible.

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

SCUBA diving. I really want to get certified!

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

It really will all work out fine. Also, listen to mom and dad more.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Running, singing, or catching up with friends/family (usually).

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Gilmore Girls

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

100 mosquitoes inside of a really tiny fridge is probably the weirdest thing I’ve had in my bag (in recent memory anyway).

31 What is your favorite animal?

Sea otters

32 What is your favorite book?

Really tough one. Tied between Harry Potter and Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli), partly for nostalgia and because I always feel happier after reading them.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Eggplant Parmesan

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Halloween, hands down.

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

Another tough one… the mosquito proboscis is made up of 6 needle-like pieces and a sheath, it’s not all just one piece.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Fresh ground and brewed coffee

39 What is your favorite sound?

Cat purrs or waves lapping on the beach.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My determination

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

Probably getting to go on safari with my husband during a research trip in Rwanda, because my hard work was able to facilitate us getting to go and have the most amazing experience of our lives together. (Might also be my happiest moment?)

43 What kind of tree would you be?


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

Boston has a pretty cool academic culture. Always new things to learn!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I’m training for my first half-Ironman (triathlon).

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