This scientist's not-so-secret life

Most of you know me by the name Danielle Whittaker. I am the managing director of BEACON, and also an animal behavior researcher. I’ve blogged about my research a couple of times: Deciphering avian aromas and The sweet smell of (reproductive) success.  

ChunkRockGirl1_Photo_by_Chris_SwitzerYou may not know that I have another name. I am the head referee for the Lansing Derby Vixens, and my derby name is Chunk Rock Girl. I have been skating for about 2 years, and refereeing women’s flat track roller derby for about a year and a half. Modern roller derby is a serious sport, and was even under consideration for the 2020 Olympics. I practice at least twice a week and referee derby bouts almost every weekend.

Recently, the PBS/NOVA web series “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers” invited me to appear on the show, to talk about science and about my “secret life” in roller derby. This Emmy-nominated series features all different kinds of scientists and the things we do when we’re not being scientists.

ChunkRockGirl2_Photo_by_Deanna_BradfordYou can check out my profile and watch my videos here, and learn about how I got involved in roller derby, what kind of work I do in the field, and the similarities between science and roller derby! 

The PBS/NOVA web series, “The Secret Life of Scientists,” provides a playful, humanizing snapshot of innovators who are shaping our world. Each episode features one of today’s leading scientists, and shows what happens when the lab coats come off—like a biologist who is also a professional wrestler, or a NASA astronomer who puts on fifty pounds of historical costuming to recreate Renaissance dances.  

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this season’s “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers” will feature 16 scientists and engineers by the season’s end. 

Follow the Secret Life blog, and join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter @secretlifer

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