Terry McGlynn. Photo provided by Terry McGlynn
Terry McGlynn. Photo provided by Terry McGlynn

Terry McGlynn is an ecologist, entomologist, and educator. He is the Director of Undergraduate Research and Professor of Biology at California State University Dominguez Hills, a Research Associate in the Department of Entomology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the author of The Chicago Guide to College Science Teaching (2020). His research employs experimental natural history to solve mysteries involving the integrative biology of ants. He is the creator of the popular blog Small Pond Science and contributes regularly to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

steel and stone critters around our garden in the back, and I sewed curtains out of a cute bird fabric. And books! Books are decor, right?

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I get by in Spanish

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

running an inn in a gorgeous and remote place that routinely attracts interesting visitors

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

bryophytes or microbes

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

and I had the time to enjoy the travel? India.

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

Time Travel

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

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

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

Sleep in, go for a trail run, coffee+newspaper time, go for a nice brunch with my spouse and son, play some board games, cook dinner, make a negroni and read a book.

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

sleep, coffee, books

15 What beverage gives you life?

at the moment, a nice dunkelweiss

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

Earth In The Balance (a seminar class in my last year of college)

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

maybe a park ranger or something?

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

The next generation of scientists

19 What got you excited in science?

The elegance and amazingness of so many evolutionary and ecological phenomena that I learned about in college – so much because of Dr. Beth Braker

20 What excites you about science now?

There still are so many mysteries and questions, and I never know what new things I’ll discover next.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

making fun faces with babies who happen to be in my vicinity

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can cook better than folks might expect

23 What is your favorite game?

a board game we keep going back to is Goldbrau

24 What is the last book you read?

The Story of More

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

“Your greatest resource is your own time”

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

Hang gliding? I mean if I’m too scared to do it, though, then I really don’t want to.

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

It’s okay to be lonely once in a while. Finding your people takes time.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?


29 What is the last thing you watched?

the first episode of Picard

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

a quadruple-wrapped container of skatole in my carry-on

31 What is your favorite animal?

ants, of course! okay but all mustelids are adorable. The lil’ pocket that sea otters keep their favorite rock in? awww!

32 What is your favorite book?

how about a series? The Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brien.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

eggplant parmesan

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

my anniversary

35 What is your favorite plant?

Welwitschia is weird and cool and phylogenetically interesting

36 What is your favorite science fact?

All known life (appears to have) descended from a single common ancestor. That’s just amazing, isn’t it?

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

heavy rain on a metal roof, listened to from a cozy bed

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

the people around me

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

the first name of my spouse

42 What is your proudest moment?

The most unadulterated pride? Maybe when I was 8 years old, in little league baseball, against all advice, I stole home and scored the game-winning run and it was celebrated tremendously. As an adult? Seeing my former students achieve what they aspire to.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Quercus agrifolia

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

the beauty of the light coming through the oaks (see above 🙂

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I started college as a Philosophy and Psychology double major.

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

Justin Cummings (UC Santa Cruz)