Graduate student’s curiosity garners video contest slot

Oct. 25, 2012

by Jill Sakai

“Curiosity is infectious,” says Jamin Dreyer in a short online video. “My eyes see things differently after doing field research in beautiful Iceland.”

The University of Wisconsin–Madison zoology graduate student is one of 14 finalists in a video contest celebrating the 60th anniversary of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The “Creating the Future” contest challenged current NSF fellows, including Dreyer, to describe in 90 seconds how their research will help shape the future — for themselves, their field of study, or the world.

Dreyer is a Ph.D. student in UW–Madison entomologist Claudio Gratton’s lab, where he studies interconnections between ecosystems, particularly how lakes and their surroundings influence one another. His video, titled “Curiosity,” showcases his main research site, Lake Myvatn in Iceland, where tiny insects called midges swarm through massive population booms and busts that impact both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

“The joy of identifying a question, and then attempting to answer it, is one of the best parts of being a graduate student,” he says in his video description. “When I pass on this spirit to others, I am creating the future.”

Voting for a People’s Choice Award is open now through midnight on Oct. 31. People can view and vote on Dreyer’s video and the other 13 finalists at this website. Voting may require registration. NSF will announce the winners in early December.

With Gratton, Dreyer also recently co-produced a music video called “What Makes Science Beautiful,” a parody of the video for “What Makes You Beautiful” by the band One Direction.

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