Herpetologist Highlight: Jessica Hua

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Herpetologist Highlight

Name: Jessica Hua

Age: 31

Website / Twitter Handle / Instagram: http://jhua13.wixsite.com/jhua

Where do you work? Binghamton University

Position: Assistant Professor 

How did you get there?

Undergraduate: Southwestern University (Biology/Kinesiology) Advisor- Dr. Ben Pierce.

Graduate (PhD): University of Pittsburgh; Advisor- Dr. Rick Relyea

Postdoc: Purdue University; Advisor- Dr. Jason Hoverman

Was there any particular hardship that you had to overcome to work in your position? I feel very fortunate to be in the position that I am in. I entered into undergraduate studies primarily for sports (I played basketball). I chose my major (biology) because I thought being a medical doctor was the only career path. Part of the medical path was to obtain research experience. As a Junior, I attempted to find a medical-related research position but compared to my peers, I was slower to apply. As a result, the only position left (lucky for me) was a position with Dr. Ben Pierce examining the effects of salinity on amphibians. I had never even seen an amphibian outside of the zoo prior to this experience! Truly all I cared about prior to this experience was med school and basketball- yet Ben still gave me a chance! Needless to say, this research experience changed my career path. After graduating from Southwestern, I pursued a PhD with Dr. Rick Relyea examining the effects of contaminants on amphibians. This experience opened the doors to a lot of different research directions for me and is when I became an HL member for the first time. After graduating with my PhD, I did my post doc with Dr. Jason Hoverman at Purdue University on amphibian disease ecology. Now I am an assistant professor at Binghamton University hoping to introduce students here in NY to herpetology and continuing the legacy my former advisors started by mentoring future herpetologists!

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