Biography of James Angus Feinstein Seidler Chandler.
First a little about my name….
My given name is James. My family and several friends from before high school still call me this.
Angus is a nickname that I received in high school and I currently use it in all professional and social settings. I received this name due to my striking resemblance to the main character in a movie of the same name. If you enjoy films about teenage social outcasts who come out on top in the end, I suggest you check it out.
Feinstein is a name that I acquired only recently. The following picture explains it all.
I received the name Seidler from my mother’s side. Her family immigrated to America during the mid-1800s. They hail from a small farming town in Germany’s Pomeranian Valley.
Finally, Chandler comes from my father’s side. I am a direct descendent of John Chandler, who arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1637 (or so the family story goes…).
And that is where my 34 character name comes from. It rarely fits into official documents.
I grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I spent my childhood taking apart my toys, building model rockets, and conducting science “experiments” in my parent’s basement. Occasionally these led to small but controlled fires.
My interest in science was solidified in high school by two teachers: Mr. Ecoff in biology and Mr. Nowakowski in physics and chemistry. Because of them, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted to become a “Biophysicalchemist”. In retrospect, that was a little vague.
As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, I took “Evolution and Extinction” by Dana Geary. This course was so amazing that I dropped “physicalchemist” from my career aspirations and began to focus on biology. I spent the next two years taking the University of Wisconsin’s Biology Core Curriculum (Biocore to those who know it best!). My senior year I took a graduate level seminar entitled “Genetics and the Evolution of Form” by John Doebley. Looking around at the graduate students and post-docs taking this course, I had an epiphany. I could make a career out of studying biology!
It was then that I decided to really pursue this field. I did a senior project in the Plant Pathology Department in the lab of Andrew Bent and I began working in Jenny Boughman’s stickleback lab. Based on their advice, that of John Doebley, and others, I decided to pursue a PhD.
After months of deliberation and soul searching (that is a lie, it was a very easy decision), I chose the Population Biology Graduate Group at the University of California, Davis. I really had no idea what I wanted to study when I arrived, but thankfully, my (patient, brilliant, compassionate, responsive, etc., etc., etc.) adviser, Artyom Kopp, was open to me exploring my own path. I jumped between behavioral ecology, speciation, development, Drosophila, C. elegans, and snails. Eventually I found a topic that I was really passionate about. The rest, as they say, is history.