Featured ‘day in the life of’: Gina, a Biology PhD candidate studying the social regulation of zebra finch song.

Gina is the 11th featured day in the life of, Gina is the face behind the Instagram “the_dancing_scientist”

A day in the life of Gina (PhD Student in Biology):

Hi! My name is Gina. I’m a PhD student in Biology studying the mechanisms behind the social regulation of zebra finch song. As a first generation college student, I didn’t realize I could make science a career. I thought being a scientist meant you worked in a sterile lab all day and all night, and you did nothing else. My goal is to help other #firstgen students realize they too can be scientists, and it doesn’t mean giving up other things that they love! I hope you enjoy my day in the life!


6:42am: Good morning world! I’ve always been a morning person so I usually get up early and watch an episode of whatever I’m binging on Netflix (currently: Parks and Rec) while I eat breakfast. It’s a great way for me to relax in the morning before a busy day in lab!
18518931_10211427951646984_381030449_o7:21am: My physical and mental health is very important to me, so I go to the gym most mornings and workout for an hour. This morning is cardio and leg day! When I don’t go to the gym, I like to dance or take hikes outside to relieve stress and stay in shape.
9:39am: The first thing I do when I get to the lab is look at a bunch of sound files for bird songs. Here is an example of one bird song, displayed as a spectrogram. I’ve had to learn a lot about coding in MatLab this year to analyze these spectrograms!
12:44pm: After our weekly lab meetings, I like to take a working lunch to organize my to-do list and brainstorm new experiments. I have been slacking with writing in my planner lately, but with data collection ramping up its a must! 
1:36pm: Currently, our lab space is split between two areas of campus. Today, as I was traveling to get a bird from our colony I ran into a tour group! It’s such a beautiful day out that I stopped to listen for a few minutes before heading back into the lab. 
19340070_10211427951446979_1696832936_o4:29pm: Time to practice coding! I’m new to coding so I try to spend a little time each day working on small coding projects to help analyze my data. Here, I tried to write code to plot my data, and it doesn’t work so I’m going to work on troubleshooting. 

5:56pm: Before I go home, I need to make sure my syringe pump is working so that I can start experiments tomorrow. Here, I’m making sure that there are no blockages in my tubing that might prevent liquid from flowing through!


6:11pm: Driving home on this sunny day with my windows down. I love that the sun is still up when I leave lab during the summer!


19358933_10211427951406978_1479173037_o7:30pm: Dinner is ready to go in the oven! Tonight, I’m making baked cod. I grew up in an Italian household, so cooking is a nice stress relief for me at night. 


8:02pm: I usually end my day with a bit of science reading. Right now, I’m working on “Learning and Instinct in Animals” by W.H. Thorpe. It’s an oldie but goodie for neuroethologists (people who study the neurobiology of animal behavior)! Thank you for sharing a day in my life. Don’t forget to keep on dancing until you catch up to your dreams.
I hope you enjoyed getting an insight into Gina’s interesting day! 


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