Arona Bender is a master’s student at Hampton University studying Biology with a concentration in environmental science. Her research focuses on using genetic approaches for monitoring the effects of climate change on Leopard Seals in the Antarctic Peninsula.

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?

Yes

5

Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Baking

6

Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Savory

7

Do you speak any other languages?

No

8

If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Become a pilot

9

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

Anthropology

10

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

Guyana! I would love to explore the North Rupununi Wetlands or see leatherback turtles on Shell Beach.

11

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation

12

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

Black in Marine Science (BIMS) Bites on YouTube. Also a really cool podcast I found and listen to every Monday is the Brown Girl Self-Care Podcast.

13

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

Read a good book, then spend the afternoon in nature, and end the day off watching some Netflix.

14

What are three things you can’t live without?

My Bible, family, creativity

15

What beverage gives you life?

Coconut water

16

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

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

17

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher

18

What drives you and keeps you going?

Knowing the goals and purpose of those goals I want to accomplish as it aligns with God’s will for me.

19

What got you excited in science?

My curiosity of the environment and its inhabitants while spending summers up the Berbice river in Guyana.

20

What excites you about science now?

Obtaining the necessary knowledge and expertise to implement new approaches in balancing both ecosystem conservation and community livelihoods which depend on such ecosystem services to create resilient ecosystems and communities for the future.

21

What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Online shopping

22

What is a secret talent of yours?

I’m pretty good at improv acting.

23

What is your favorite game?

Cricket 🏏

24

What is the last book you read?

Blood on the River by Marjoleine Kars, definitely recommend it!

25

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

Don’t let your hopes and dreams end up in the graveyard. The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.

26

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

Traveling to a different country by myself.

27

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

Create good habits and stick to them.

28

What is the best way to de-stress?

Lay down and listen to a motivational podcast or get up and dance to some soca music 🙂

29

What is the last thing you watched?

Islands of Faith on Netflix.

30

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

Can’t really think of anything weird I’ve had in my bag

31

What is your favorite animal?

Sea turtles

32

What is your favorite book?

I don’t have a specific one but I do enjoy reading both fiction and non-fiction novels.

33

What is your favorite comfort food?

Wings (spicy)

34

What is your favorite day of the year?

My birthday

35

What is your favorite plant?

Orchids

36

What is your favorite science fact?

20% of Earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.

37

What is your favorite season?

Summer

38

What is your favorite smell?

Cookies just coming out the oven

39

What is your favorite sound?

The sound of rain on a zinc rooftop.

40

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My willingness to help others.

41

What is your favorite word (in any language)?

chune (meaning tune/music)

42

What is your proudest moment?

Interning at NOAA NWFSC. I aspire to work with NOAA after completing my PhD.

43

What kind of tree would you be?

A mango tree

44

What’s the best thing about where you live?

There is a beach 8 minutes away from me and a park 8 minutes away as well with an incredible view of the waterway.

45

Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I am guyanese and I love immersing myself into different cultures.

46

Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Josette McLean josette.mclean@my.hamptonu.edu