Ti’Air Riggins is a current Biomedical Engineering PhD candidate at Michigan State University investigating implantable electrodes to tune immune response in the brain, in the REIL lab under the direction of Dr. Erin Purcell. She is heavily involved in the BMES, NSBE and is in the speaker’s bureau for the Rape And Incest National Network. She is a current NIH F99/K00 fellow and was named a fellow in the Society for Neuroscience from 2016 – 2018. Her future goals include managing her own lab and being a successful entrepreneur and mentor for students who are underrepresented students in neuroscience and engineering. You can follow her on Twitter, @ti_enjoli and connect on Linkedin.com/tiair-riggins.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

3 guinea pigs – Thanos, Thor & T’Challa

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Well maybe this is more cartoon like, but I am working on painting a 4 canvas Storm x-men piece. I also have brain slice coasters

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

French and Spanish, but I’m bad at each.

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

Visual artist for sure, event planner, or Hollywood actor/entertainer

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?

Anywhere but the US – Tahiti, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Iceland, and Japan.

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

Waterbending sounds cool. Plus you get to heal with it!

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

All About Love by bell hooks

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

Wake up, exercise, eat a giant brunch with bottomless mimosas, watch a crap ton of anime, go to an amusement park (if there was no covid), and also go to a roller rink, and bowling.

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

My guinea pigs, manicured nails, all things hello kitty

15 What beverage gives you life?

Long island ice teas, mimosas, pumpkin spice lattes, and hot caramel apple cider

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

A Wrinkle In Time

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

An actress/scientists/model

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Understanding that science and engineering are tools that allow us to make our world a better place and I get the privilege of being part of it. But also, spite. Way to many people told me I shouldn’t be in the spaces I should’ve been or didn’t support me.

19 What got you excited in science?

I was always surrounded by it growing up. My mom was a computer scientists and my grade school science teachers always encouraged me to explore the unknown. I also loved the fiction written in books and movies concerning science. Having this exposure and representation, I could see myself being one.

20 What excites you about science now?

Discovering the unknown, uncovering knowledge and thinking of all the ways that knowledge can be applied. Thinking problems that can be solved and how they could eventually increase the quality of life for others.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Watching reality tv and buying nail polish

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Not hidden, but I am a visual artist. I am also classically trained in dance and piano. I have also been acted in plays and musicals.

23 What is your favorite game?

Its a tie between Smash Brothers and Mario kart

24 What is the last book you read?

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

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

There will be naysayers and doubters, but they do not control your destiny. You do.

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

I will sky dive one day…

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

Be steadfast and set boundaries. No one can stop you but you.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Yoga, exercising, dancing, boxing and trap karaoke.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Girlfriends on Netflix

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


31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

A Wrinkle In Time

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Macaroni and Cheese and Cheesecake

34 What is your favorite day of the year?


35 What is your favorite plant?

Tiger Lillies

36 What is your favorite science fact?

That every living thing that has existed on this planet is made up of stardust

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Classic mario bros theme song

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My heart, dedication, drive, and optimism

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

Graduating as the first Black graduate as a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering from the Ohio State University.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Weeping willow

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

This authentic Jamaican restaurant that opened up a little less than a year ago. As as far as the state, the waterfalls and national parks located up in northern Michigan, and of course all of the culture, history and richness that is Detroit.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I’m randomly related to James Avery, Elle Varner, and Jesse James.

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

Lietsel Richardson @motherofneurons
Lietsel Krause @sourkrause94