Jordan Harrod. Photo provided by Jordan Harrod
Jordan Harrod. Photo provided by Jordan Harrod

Jordan Harrod is a PhD student in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology program. She works at the intersection of non-invasive brain-machine interfaces and deep learning for clinical pain and anesthesia under Dr. Ed Boyden and Dr. Emery Brown. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University in 2018. Her YouTube channel (youtube.com/jordanharrod) focuses on engaging the public on artificial intelligence.

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?

No

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

No

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Cooking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Both

7 Do you speak any other languages?

I used to be fluent in French, but I’m pretty rusty now!

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

Assuming I had to leave science, I’d probably go into competitive sports! My current focus is on Olympic weightlifting, but I used to compete in tennis and fencing as well!

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

Robotics

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

Somewhere in Southern California – I’m ready for some warm weather and desert hiking.

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

Being able to save my current life progress at any time, and jump back to that save point if things aren’t going quite right.

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

I read Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow recently, and it was amazing!

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

Go for a run, do some lifting, then have brunch with friends! After that, I’d spend the rest of the day reading, doing some light cleaning, and end by watching a movie with some wine.

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

Some form of exercise, books, and music.

15 What beverage gives you life?

Seltzer – I have a Sodastream.

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

The Plague by Albert Camus

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

Doctor, then forensic anthropologist (I watched a lot of Bones), then engineer.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My curiosity! Also coffee 🙂

19 What got you excited in science?

I don’t think there’s a specific topic – I’ve always been interested in how things work, and being able to learn by doing is my preferred approach to learning.

20 What excites you about science now?

The potential human impact – especially since I work in medical engineering, all of the research around me has the potential to positively impact so many lives.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Reality dating shows on Netflix

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Singing? I did choir for about eight years.

23 What is your favorite game?

Hearts

24 What is the last book you read?

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan

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

Ask for anything you want – the worst they can say is no.

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

Probably public speaking. I did a TEDx talk last year to try to beat that fear, but it’s still one of the scariest things I can imagine willingly doing.

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

Get comfortable with discomfort – You’re going to change your mind several times about what you want your life to look like, and it’s more useful to spend your energy putting in the work to make those pivots than stressing about how things aren’t going according to plan.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

A good workout, followed by some tea and a nap.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

A vlog from Brooke Miccio’s YouTube channel – she’s based in Boston, and it’s been a nice way to remember what the city is usually like during non-pandemic times.

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

Mace

31 What is your favorite animal?

Cats!

32 What is your favorite book?

There’s absolutely no way I could pick just one. I tend to enjoy science fiction/fantasy!

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Mac and cheese

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

The first day of a vacation, when I wake up and realize that I have no obligations.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Trees. All of them.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

I’ve literally never thought about it before this question. It’s not exactly a fact, but recent research on how cerebrospinal fluid washes over your brain while you sleep to clean it up and get you ready for the next day is really fascinating to me.

37 What is your favorite season?

Winter

38 What is your favorite smell?

Clean laundry

39 What is your favorite sound?

Whatever my favorite song is at the moment.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Probably that I can adapt to new situations, which hasn’t always been the case.

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

I don’t think I have one.

42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting into my PhD program!

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Oak

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

Boston has a nice mix of city life and suburban life.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I was born with 12 fingers!

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

Christine Liu @christineliuart