• Question: Describe a time when you KNEW that your career was a perfect fit for your life and talents, please.

    Asked by 653hyda42 to Avani, Jeff, Kenzi, Lindsay, Zoe on 18 May 2015.
    • Photo: Jeff Shi

      Jeff Shi answered on 18 May 2015:

      When I lived in South Africa to do research, I learned that being curious and investigating nature is exactly what I wanted. It was the perfect blend of discovery, adventure, socializing with a great group of other young students, and always learning new things.

    • Photo: Zoe GetmanPickering

      Zoe GetmanPickering answered on 19 May 2015:

      When I was an undergraduate in college I worked in a bumble bee lab. We used to need freshly hatched bees for our experiments. But bees are very protective of their hive. To get the bees we needed, we used a modified dustbuster vacuum to suck up all the other bees. We put them back in afterwards. We did it in a dark room with red light (bees can’t see red) so the bees wouldn’t try to fly away (bees don’t fly in the dark). How freekin crazy is that? It was then, standing in the red light with a vacuum full of angry bees, that i knew entomology was the perfect job for me.

    • Photo: K. Lindsay Hunter

      K. Lindsay Hunter answered on 19 May 2015:

      In October of 2013, I saw an ad on Fb from Dr. Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. The ad said he was looking for paleoanthropologists to excavate for a short-term project to start the next month, so, naturally, my ears perked up.

      The catch was: “The person must be skinny and preferably small. They must not be claustrophobic, they must be fit, they should have some caving experience, climbing experience would be a bonus. They must be able to work in cramped quarters, have a good attitude and be a team player.”

      I took one look at that and went “THAT’S ME!” I applied and became one of six “underground astronauts” to excavate Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind. That has now become the most abundant early hominin site in southern Africa, and the only known site for a newly described species of human ancestor!

      ***I was BORN for this!***

      You can read more about this amazing experience on our Nat Geo blog and it will even be a documentary on Nat Geo channel!: