Ellen Bledsoe with a mouse on her shoulder. Photo provided by Ellen Bledsoe
Ellen Bledsoe with a mouse on her shoulder. Photo provided by Ellen Bledsoe

Ellen Bledsoe is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the University of Florida studying long-term dynamics of desert rodent communities in Arizona. She’s drawn to endearingly awkward things in nature and is particularly fond of rodents and bats. As a queer woman in science, she’s especially passionate about promoting inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) in science.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

One very adorable and sasstastic cat.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I’m losing it, but some Spanish

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


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

Anything that gets me out in the field, honestly

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

Nowhere! Post COVID-19, probably Australia or Patagonia

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

Be able to speak, read, write, and understand every language, past and present

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

Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam triology, but especially Oryx & Crake

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

Sleep, listen to podcasts with my cat, cook or bake, go on a walk, and play board games with friends

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

Good food, good friends, and cute animals

15 What beverage gives you life?

Coffee, elixir of life

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

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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

When I was three, my career goal was to be a cherry tree

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My desire to make science and society more inclusive and equitable

19 What got you excited in science?


20 What excites you about science now?

We often forget how much creativity is in science. I love that part of it.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Law & Order SVU

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can dance in pointe shoes (and did for many years)

23 What is your favorite game?

We have a family tradition of playing Tripoly, and I love it!

24 What is the last book you read?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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

A professor told me to take an ecology class, which I thought would be boring. She was right!

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

A long thru-hike

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

You don’t need to believe what your imposter syndrome is telling you.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Honestly? Cry. It helps me release the anxiety and tension I’m holding in.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Dead Wind

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

Probably a PIT tag scanner

31 What is your favorite animal?

Too many to list, but I usually say okapis

32 What is your favorite book?

I refuse to pick (read: I can’t pick)

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

French fries

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Any day I get to catch animals in the field

35 What is your favorite plant?

I enjoy redwoods and Sequoias

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Grasshopper mice are carnivorous and can turn scorpion venom into painkillers metabolically!

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Juniper and sagebrush in the mountains

39 What is your favorite sound?

Rain falling or creeks babbling

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m an empath. It’s exhausting sometimes, but I wouldn’t change it

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

I’m hoping that hasn’t happened yet.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

My 3-year-old self says cherry tree.

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

Proximity to natural springs

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I am academically related to the author Barbara Kingsolver (her PhD adviser was my PhD advisor’s PhD adviser).

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

Keara Clancy (@motherofmantids)
Karen Bailey (@karnebe)
Katherine Crocker (@cricketcrocker)