Maggie is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Penn State. Her research focuses on understanding how ancestral history, socioeconomic factors, and experiences with ethnic and racial discrimination are associated with adverse health outcomes within Latinx communities, specifically individuals of Cuban descent living in Miami, Florida. Maggie is also passionate about science communication, outreach, diversity initiatives, and local/grassroots activism. You can follow her on Twitter @ScientistaMaggs, Instagram @maggiehern, and on her website

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Do plants count as pets? Because if so, I have a bunch of plant babies!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Lots of skulls because I’m an anthropologist 🙂

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


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

I’ve always loved creating. I wish I could learn more about art and painting, and be able to sell my work.

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

Astrobiology is sooooo coooooool

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

Back home to Miami!

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

This is always a tough question for me. I’d love to be able to get to where I need to go without the act of traveling (it gives me alot of anxiety). So I guess teleportation!

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

Watch all the episodes of Explained on Netflix!

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

Lay out in the sun

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

Coffee, my plants, and my partner 🙂

15 What beverage gives you life?

Anything coming from my Soda Stream

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

Hmm, this is a hard one. I think my more recent books have shaped me more than ever before. The Color of Law was an important book for me and my activism work.

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

A physician

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My family and community

19 What got you excited in science?

Understanding how powerful DNA can be in answering deep evolutionary questions. I started off studying plant genetics and have continued working in genetics since.

20 What excites you about science now?

The change it can make. Science doesn’t just have to be the “hard sciences”. There are so many fields that employ scientific inquiry, and using that for the betterment of humanity is what gives my work meaning, and keeps me passionate.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Reality TV all the way

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I know alot of information about really random things. So I’m pretty handy at trivia.

23 What is your favorite game?

I’m really into playing Evolution right now

24 What is the last book you read?

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis

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

Protect your time.

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

Sky diving

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

Mental health matters. Take care of yourself ❤

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Snuggle on the couch with my favorite blanket and watch baking shows

29 What is the last thing you watched?

The Bachelor LOL

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

Frozen lizards

31 What is your favorite animal?

Allllllll kinds of cats

32 What is your favorite book?

I honestly can’t answer this question lol. There’s so many good ones!

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

White cheddar cheetos

34 What is your favorite day of the year?


35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

How do people only pick one???? One of my favorites is that mother’s milk changes composition when infants are sick.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Rain falling on the window

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My humor

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

Passing my candidacy exam

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A red wood

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

The summers are gorgeous

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I *almost* did a Master’s in herpetology prior to going full force into anthropology. I have a bunch of knowledge about snakes and reptiles, and no one to talk about it with haha!

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

Becca O’Toole (Instagram: beccathegreat)