Dr. Jason Baumsteiger
Q: What is your hometown?
A: I grew up in Van Nuys, California.
Q: What is it like being a professor at Pacific so far?
A: So far it has been fun! The students are entertaining. I’m still getting used to the schedule, because here we teach for an hour and fifteen minutes, as opposed to fifty minutes at other universities, so it’s kind of exciting that way. I enjoy teaching, and I hope that my students are enjoying it too!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your research.
A: I work on the conservation genomics of freshwater fish mostly on the West Coast. I like to work on sculpin. They hang out on the bottom of rivers, and they are a really good indicator species of the health in a stream. Usually they’re in rivers, and because they’re not usually fished by everybody, they have a good genetic history of the connection of waterways within California.
Q: What are your hobbies/interests?
A: I go to the gym, and I did some personal training for people in the past. I like to play golf and watch hockey. Right now, my life pretty much surrounds my twenty-month-old toddler Scarlett, where most of my free time comes from. And somewhere in there, I try to do some sleeping.
Q: It seems like you enjoy quoting wise words from movies in class. Can you tell us more about that?
A: Many years back when I was working for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it was in a fairly remote area. As a result, I had a lot of time on my hands and I ended up watching a lot of movies. I kind of built up this big movie knowledge, and now I can kind of quote movies.
Q: If you had to give one piece of advice to students, what would it be? Or in other words, what are you known for saying?
A: I wouldn’t say that I have one particular one, but I enjoy the line from The Shawshank Redemption, where Andy Dufresne, the guy who was wrongfully imprisoned for many years, talks about hope. Hope is some of the best of things, and no hope ever really dies. He’s giving it in context of no matter how hard his life has been in prison and how unfair it has been, he still has hope for greater things and for people. That’s something that I think we as a society right now is forgetting a little bit about. We’re so in the moment that we’re kind of losing track that there’s hope—there’s a better thing out there that can be if we change our perspective.
Q: In what ways would you say this ties into Biology?
A: As someone who likes to do a lot with conservation, conservation in the reality of it is very dark and sad on what we’re going forward, so I have to maintain hope that I can enlighten people as to the importance of the system around us and that we are not separated from that system, but part of it.