Eleanor Caves | Biology

Current: Durham, NC; From: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Pomona Days: Class of 2011, Biology

Current Education: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Nowicki Lab, 2018 to present; Duke University, PhD Candidate, 2014 to present

Past Education: Cambridge University 2013, MPhil in Zoology


I’ve been a student for almost my entire life, and I’ve known I wanted to be a biologist for even longer than that. After leaving Pomona, I got a master’s degree at Cambridge, and now I’m in a PhD program at Duke.  However, in between Cambridge and Duke, I took a year and a half off and had no plans. I cannot emphasize how important that time off was for me as a person AND as a scientist! My biggest words of wisdom would be this: time off does not have to be time wasted.  In science, we’re often pressed to move on to the next step as quickly as we can, to get publishing and figure out our research interests quickly.

I’ve done research all over the world, on frigid islands and humid cloud forests, on organisms from plants to whales to bats, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that research interests, and your identity as a scientist, don’t develop quickly. It’s good to take your time, try lots of things, and get some experience outside of science—you’ll find it’s those “extra” things you do that do the most in helping find your true interests.