Written by Joshua Mouser

The first IGC Coffee Convo since closure of the university was conducted on July 23rd via Zoom! These conversations allow students to create connections with faculty members they might not normally interact with. GCC faculty Dr. Josef Uyeda met with IGC Fellows Joshua Mouser, Chloe Moore, Melissa Burt, and Nicole Ward.

As fitting with the virtual nature of the meeting, the group started by discussing how we have adjusted to the changes and challenges brought on by the pandemic. We discussed virtual conferences, staying connected with friends and lab mates, and how we have adjusted our research. Overall, it seems that everyone was able to adjust effectively and the delays in fieldwork have even given some of us a chance to catch up on other pieces of our projects.

The conversation then pivoted to Dr. Uyeda’s research, which focuses on connecting micro and macro evolutionary processes. One of his current projects attempts to understand why evolution is such a slow process when it could be much faster. The thought of evolution being a “fast” process is contrary to what most of us think. As an example, Dr. Uyeda explained that in the last 300–500 years dogs have been bred to display a range of skull shapes that is greater than the range found in the rest of the carnivores. The quickness that dogs have evolved through breeding leads to the question, why do animals tend to go extinct rather than adapt quickly if evolution can occur quickly?

We also discussed diversity and inclusion efforts by the University, its departments, and the role GCC can play in increasing diversity. A common sentiment we shared was that as students we often do not have the power to make the changes that we want to see. Dr. Uyeda encouraged us to not give up and seek out those that have the power to make changes.