Greg Youdan showing off "Wearables" on his wrists and chest, a technology used to help study walking in people with neurological diseases. Photo by Greg Youdan
Greg Youdan showing off “Wearables” on his wrists and chest, a technology used to help study walking in people with neurological diseases. Photo by Greg Youdan

Gregory Youdan Jr. is a PhD Student in Kinesiology who uses wearables and data science techniques to study walking in people with neurological diseases.
He can be reached on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregoryyoudan/), Twitter (@GregYoudan), Instagram (@gregyoudan) or via his personal website (http://www.gregoryyoudan.com). Greg is an avid foodie, who loves traveling, adventure, and a good cup of coffee.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?

Pro-pun

3 Do you have any pets?

I have three cats (Atlas, Orion and Isis)

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

No

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Baking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Both

7 Do you speak any other languages?

Spanish is actually my first language, English is my second.

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

Policy — I would love to work for the United Nations. For a short period in undergrad I was a double major with Political Science. In high school I did Model UN and volunteered at the local Democratic Headquarters.

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

Evolutionary Anatomy – I am just fascinated by the human body.

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

Antartica – The one continent I have not been to yet.

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

Teleportation – yes I have given this question a lot of thought.

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

I highly suggest NPR’s Hidden Brain Podcast. I automatically download new episodes to my iPhone and listen on my commute.

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

I want to spend time with partner of 13 years now. We don’t get to spend too much time together during the week due to work schedules. When I have time I really want to spend it with him.

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

My Laptop, A good pair of glasses, Metrocard (Subway)

15 What beverage gives you life?

Chai Tea Latte with Oat Milk

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

The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs – It helped me come to terms with being gay.

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

I always wanted to a be professional dancer which I was before going into science.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I am someone who is driven by passion. My passion is why I wake up in the morning and what keeps me going. My passion has at the heart of it been human movement and that is a through line from the dance to science career.

19 What got you excited in science?

The ability to ask question and test hypotheses. I really wanted to be able to ask questions. As a dancer I was always questioning the movement capabilities of the human body and science provided a place for me to ask and test those questions.

20 What excites you about science now?

I enjoy doing clinical rehabilitation science. There is still a gap between researchers and clinicians and patients but being someone who is able to work to bridge that gap excites me. I enjoy helping people and I feel that the work I do has the potential to help so many people.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Hallmark Movies and Telenovelas

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can read Beauchamp–Feuillet notation, which used to notate dances during the Baroque era. I spent many years with NY Baroque Dance Company and learned how to read and reconstruct dances from this time period.

23 What is your favorite game?

Cards Against Humanity

24 What is the last book you read?

Houston, we have a narrative by Randy Olson which I highly suggest to anyone interested in scicomm.

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

If you can imagine yourself doing anything other than the thing you’re doing, it’s time to start making strides towards doing that other thing. This was said to me about when you would know it was time to leave dance but I think it is directly applicable to leaving for jobs outside academia and for life in general.

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

Sky Diving – I’m scared of heights yet I want to jump out of a plane. Not sure how that works but I’d really like to try if I could work up the courage to do so.

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

Keep going! – You have no idea where life is going to take you. Don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t be afraid to fail. You will learn so much through failure that you owe yourself that opportunity.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

For me it’s a nice long bath with a scented candle, some music and a glass of wine — That or a nap.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

GLOW on Netflix

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

Before the prevalence of foam rollers at every gym and ease of transportation I used to carry around a rolling pin (yes the kind you use for baking) to roll out my muscles before and after dance rehearsal..

31 What is your favorite animal?

Mustang Horse

32 What is your favorite book?

It’s so difficult to only choose one favorite book. I love so many. I’ll go with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sacks

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Pastelitos – It is a the Dominican version of an Empanada

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Thanksgiving – I just love that it is a day to give thanks and celebrate with friends and family.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Liliac – It reminds me of Rochester, NY where I grew up. Rochester puts on a yearly Liliac Festival which I often danced at. We went every year as a kid.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

That the brain is plastic, it has the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections. This is especially true following injury and learning involved in the recovery process.

37 What is your favorite season?

Summer

38 What is your favorite smell?

Coconut

39 What is your favorite sound?

Waves hitting the shore

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My favorite thing about myself is my compassion. I really enjoy giving back to community in whatever context possible. I always try to make myself available to help others.

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

Amar – To Love in Spanish

42 What is your proudest moment?

So far completing my MS in Applied Statistics because it was out of my field and comfort zone and really pushed me.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Palm Tree

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

To quote Hamilton on broadway “It’s the greatest city in the world.” There is also so much happening here. From Broadway and concerts to new restaurants. There is something for everyone.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

There was a period of my life when I was OBSESSED with Disney. I would only answer to the name Mickey and gave everyone in my family Disney characters names and wouldn’t engage in conversation unless we used them. This lasted at least a year and my family still does not let me live this down.

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

Efra Riveria-Serrano @NakedCapsid