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What made you choose Davis?

Interdisciplinary exchange is super important to me, and Davis supports it like few other places. I’m already talking to exciting people in half a dozen other departments, and I love it. Also, the environment. I’m from Sunnyvale, California, and I used to visit here a bunch. I loved the bikes and the trees and the air. And the co-ops: I used to be a co-op housing organizer, and Davis is a great town for cooperative businesses. Lots of things; Davis is great.

What inspires you?

Science. People sometimes think of science as a reductionist search for answers, and an inaccessible nest of know-it-alls. But for me, it’s a way to be in touch with awe, wonder, creativity, and just how big and complicated everything is.

What research are you currently working on? What makes it unique?

Despite everything, I still think the internet can be a net good for democracy, and I dig up inspiring communities that are giving people everyday, unwittingly, a crash course in democratic leadership and personal empowerment.

If you could impart one piece of advice to our undergraduates seeking a course of study/career path, what would it be?

If you have direction already, good for you; run with it. If not, it’ll be serendipity that plays the big role in helping you get some. You can give serendipity lots of opportunities to snare you by constantly exposing yourself to new things, people and ideas, and challenging yourself.

When not in the classroom or conducting research, what do you like to do?

This summer I built a sort of fake astrology website. … I don’t know if that answers the question.