Dani Ottmann (OSU)

By: Dani Ottmann

June 21, 2015

Early decisions in our youth can determine what our life is going to be like. As a kid, I always wanted to play outdoors, and I couldn’t see myself with a future job that involved spending my working time typing on a computer. Inspired by BBC documentaries, I decided I wanted to become a biologist and understand how life works. I thought that this was the best way I could understand the biological keys to helping preserve the environment and manage Earth’s natural resources. So I started college, with Jack Cousteau and David Attenborough as my role models, believing that I would be able to change the world after spending a few years studying biology.

It took me six years to finish my degree – plenty of time to realize that research was not all about observing the mating dance of Guinean paradise birds. The daily routine of a researcher does, in fact, involve spending most of my time in front of a computer screen. But, I realized that designing my own projects and having them funded, also has its appeal. Somehow, working long hours in the office also makes the fieldwork more exciting and rewarding. Whether it’s collecting samples twice a month with a small boat, or spending three weeks on a research cruise - these are the fun experiences that keep me motivated to work on science.