5 Questions for a Scientist: Ecologist Cory Gall

The gap between the science classroom and a real-life career in the sciences can seem distant for some students. The 5 Questions for a Scientist interview series was created to bridge this gap! We aim to inspire students to pursue careers in the sciences by showcasing the incredible diversity of STEM careers by talking to scientists themselves. See all of the interviews here.

Get to know Cory

Occupation: Ecologist and Ph.D. Candidate
Institution: Washington State University
Field: Veterinary entomology
Focus: Tick-borne diseases and tick ecology

Cory is a Ph.D. student at Washington State University (WSU) studying arthropods (crustaceans, arachnids, and insects) that cause human and animal diseases, and is interested in finding eco-friendly ways to stop vector-borne pathogens (diseases transmitted by other organisms). Additionally, Cory is a member of WSU’s graduate student government and is interested in governmental policy related to science. To learn more about Cory’s research, connect to him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/CoryAGall.

1. Explain what you do in your work in one sentence (or two!).
My research is to look at the bacteria that live within ticks and how they relate to tick-borne diseases. We believe that by changing the bacteria naturally found inside ticks that we can change the frequency of human and animal diseases.

2. When did you first become interested in your field?
I have always been interested in animals, nature, and my surroundings. Science allows a person to explore all possible avenues of life, which fits my personality of having multiple interests. However, after my first college biology class, I realized that I wanted to dedicate my life to science.

3. What is your favorite part of being a scientist or of science in general?
The best thing about being a scientist is that as your scientific interests change, so too can your research directions. With the scientific tools that you learn during a science education, you can conduct research on an endless amount of topics and questions.

4. What is a typical day like for you as a scientist?
My day is divided between research in the lab or in the field, reading, and writing. My career in science allows me to learn new things everyday, while I work to answer the unknown.  

5. Do you have any advice for young people interested in science today?
My advice is that it is never too early for a person to begin conducting scientific research through observations and experiments. I suggest to go outside with notebook and pen and follow around a butterfly, bird, or even to sit next to a flower and observe the life of that plant. Additionally, if you are fortunate enough to have a university nearby, then I suggest talking to professors about volunteer opportunities.  

image credit: cory gall


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