Unique Scientist: Jacob Shurba

Time to meet Jacob (Jake) Shurba (He/him)! Jake is a population and wildlife disease ecologist working towards his Master’s degree at Clemson University in the USA!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a MS student at Clemson University studying wood duck population and habitat ecology but my background and passion is wildlife diseases and parasites! Because of this passion, and to keep myself caught up in the field while doing population ecology work, I write a weekly blog detailing goings-on in the wildlife health field.

What made you want to become a scientist?
Honestly, it was watching and reading Jurassic Park as a kid. Now as an adult and knowing what I do about science it’s funny to think about but man, that book and movie absolutely astounded me and I was so fascinated by the inner workings of science and wanted to get more into it. I always say that I love my job as a wildlife biologist but as soon as we “de-extinct” dinosaurs, I’ll become a paleobiologist so fast!

“I am definitely the “oddball” in my family, especially considering my love of parasites […]”

Jacob Shurba

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I am a first generation college graduate and scientist. I am definitely the “oddball” in my family, especially considering my love of parasites and things that invade, infect, and kill their host.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I write my blog! I also am an avid nature photographer. I love taking landscape photos and pictures of the animals I study (as long as they sit still long enough that is). I also love dissecting things when I can and keying out parasites in my spare time.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I really wish people were more open to hearing what scientists have to say considering more often than not, we really care about others and the planet and we want to do what we can to preserve that for future generations.

“I really wish people were more open to hearing what scientists have to say considering more often than not, we really care about others and the planet […]”

Jacob Shurba

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
My advisor as an undergraduate was someone who pushed me to be the best I could. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Looking back further, I appreciate the wildlife vet who took me under her wing and trained me as a wildlife rehabilitator and taught me to love not only wildlife, but also the critters inside of wildlife. Besides that, my family has been and still is my greatest supporter and have helped me greatly throughout the last few years.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I finally took a vacation!! After four straight years of working my rear off, I was finally able to take a week off and enjoy some time with my family whom I haven’t seen in well over 6 months. I also have a final draft of my undergraduate research ready to send out for publication to a journal.


#FirstGen, #FirstGenInSTEM

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