Annais Muschett Bonilla

Annais Muschett Bonilla

"Continual education growth and societal advancement"

College: Arts and Sciences
Degree Program: Ecology and Evolution
Degree: Doctorate

Award: McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (2021) NSF GRFP Honorable Mention (2021)

Why FSU?
I chose to pursue a graduate degree at FSU because of the community of researchers at the FSU Marine and Coastal Laboratory. The framework established promotes the collaboration and innovation that is necessary to further marine research. My desire as a developing scientist is to expand my network of resources and mentors beyond my university and into other universities, government agencies, and aquariums.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
I always had a very strong motivation to pursue continual education. My day is not complete until I have learned something new about the world that surrounds me. Pursuing a graduate degree is a simple way of continuing my curiosity and helping others do the same.

Importance and impact of research
I plan to study spontaneous parturition in elasmobranchii because of the little knowledge obtained for this event. It has the potential to be a trait that evolved long ago and possesses the ability to tell us more about the forces at play in the evolution of a species. Lastly, it is important to find ways to study marine species that are not easily accessible.

Advice for prospective graduate students
If you are considering graduate school, think about your long-term goals and consider what job you would like in the future. In addition, do not let anyone tell you what your journey is. Follow your interests and do not join a lab for the sake of it or due to convenience.

Accomplishments during graduate career
I am proud of the impact that I've had on the students I teach in the introduction biology course. In Fall 2021, I was awarded the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, applied for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program for the second time and received the Honorable Mention Award (2021), participated in a podcast, traveled to the Marquesas Keys for field work, and traveled to Tampa for my first McKnight Annual Meeting. I also received the ABS Turner Award from the Animal Behavioral Society Conference in Chicago in 2019.

Career aspirations
My aspirations range, however my ultimate goal is to continue to do research with elasmobranch. After my PhD, I plan to complete one to two post-doctorate research experiences outside of the country. This will lead me down the path of becoming a principal investigator (PI) for a lab where I will pay forward all of the knowledge, guidance, and support I received over the years. To expand scientific outreach, I would like to develop a research field station in a community that knows little about science.