Savannah, have you met…

Your job title is Research Technician II. What in the world does that even mean?
A research technician is typically a person who works under a principle investigator within a laboratory setting. The PI comes up with the good ideas, and the techs follow through with the work. I work in the Anderson Cancer Institute within the Memorial University Medical Center.

Where did you go to school and what degrees do you currently hold?
I went to the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. I currently hold a Bachelor’s in Biology, a Master’s in Biotechnology, and will hopefully be finishing my Ph.D. in Biology soon enough, depending on how my current research goes!

In ten years where do you see yourself professionally?
In ten years, I’d love to be in my same field, but hopefully a PI. My work is studying how cigarette smoke affects lung tissues: i.e. lung cancer and COPD. If people are still smoking, I haven’t succeeded in my research to provide adequate results to make people understand how absolutely devastating smoking is to your body. Since I began my research, I’ve successfully convinced several friends to quit smoking. I want a larger impact. I recently had a portion of my research accepted for an international conference with the American Thoracic Society, so here’s to hoping that’s the start of the journey.

You clearly love tattoos. Do you have a favorite tattoo?
I do love tattoos. I am trying my best to become completely covered, except for what can’t be covered up by a suit. I’m currently torn on my favorite tattoo. I recently got a tattoo on the back of my knee symbolizing my feelings toward the corruption of religion by man. I also have a ful sleeve of the Egyptian plagues, one of my favorite stories of the bible. It’s very dark and a grim tattoo. It caused my mother to tear up when she saw the “Death of the First Born” portion of the tattoo. Both my sleeve, and the back of my knee were done by my friend Zack Spurlock of Anonymous Tattoo. 

Do you have any hobbies that you would like to share?
My biggest hobby is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Its a grappling martial art that has recently become popular after the explosion of mixed martial arts in the United States. I have been training for 3.5 years. I actually found a gym down here before I even had a job. I currently train under Michael Sergi of Serg Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

What is your all time favorite artist/song that you could listen to on repeat?
My all time favorite song is Cheap Shot Youth Anthem by Kid Dynamite. It reminds me of my youth, not wanting to be an adult, and still trying to keep a grasp on my punk rock youth. Every time I hear it, I have nostalgia of not having real responsibilities.

What scares you the most?
Dying from cancer. I’ve lost several family members to cancer throughout my life, and I am always scared one day I’m going to wake up and find out I have some ridiculous rare form of cancer just because I”m genetically predisposed to it. I eat a vegetarian diet, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I exercise regularly, and I still have this irrational fear that I’ll die young. 

What is one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?
I have no idea! I’ve literally been mulling this over for one hour.

What do you like and dislike about Savannah?
I’ve always loved the city, and had a few very convincing friends. Aesthetically, I love swamps and marshes. On my commute to work I drive down US-80, and I’m just happy as I see the spartina and egrets. I love that local shops thrive here. I love that I can go to several cafes and get vegan treats. Honestly, I haven’t been living here long enough to dislike anything! After 7 months, everything is still new and exciting for me.

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