Jessica Ford is a PhD student at the Redpath Museum at McGill University. She studies the ecological consequences of amphibian loss using toad tadpoles in mesocosms. Jessica also raises these toads for release, using methods she developed to ensure high survivorship. Jessica is a strong proponent of inclusion in STEMM and science outreach, and wrote a colouring and activity book for kids about women and underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

A three striped mud turtle named Pixie! She’s the light of my life.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Lots of turtle and toad themed decor, and old scientific illustrations

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

French, though I’m not that good at it

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

Art forensics scientist (those people who identify if paintings are real)

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


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


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


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

Anything promoting the forgotten work of an underrepresented minority

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

Bake cookies or go on a hike (or eat the cookies I made while hiking)

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

Food magazines, good cheese, sugar

15 What beverage gives you life?

Bubble tea

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

Animal Farm

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

A marine biologist or a poet

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My passion for conservation and protecting the animals I work with (and a little bit of stubbornness)

19 What got you excited in science?

I always loved playing in the mud and I wanted to understand and protect the animals I found while flipping over rocks and logs

20 What excites you about science now?

I get to answer questions no one knows the answer to yet. I’m a very curious person, and being the first person to know something is really cool!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Watching food shows

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Making balloon animals

23 What is your favorite game?

Animal Crossing

24 What is the last book you read?

Renascence and other poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

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

“This is too hard if you’re not passionate about it” I’ve been mocked or not taken seriously for my passion, but it is what makes me a good scientist

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

A really big trip to multiple countries to try all the food and go to all the museums

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

Everyone who said you couldn’t do something is wrong

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

A warm bath and a fancy drink

29 What is the last thing you watched?

90 Day Finance

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

A multitool and an identical, smaller multitool. And a preserved mouse pelt.

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Abarat by Clive Barker

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Potatoes, in any form

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

My birthday

35 What is your favorite plant?

I don’t know if I have one, but succulents are cute

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Toads and frogs swallow using their eyeballs!

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Ocean waves

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’ve learned to be unapologetically myself

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

Developing a method to raise toad tadpoles with high survivorship. It opened up the doors for my PhD, and is helping conserve the species!

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A bonsai tree

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

Having 4 seasons

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Toad tadpoles are very important to the environment, and without them the whole pond can change and grow so much algae that it turns green!

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

Nathalie Jreidini @natgoeswild on twitter