For my dissertation, I plan to study the functional potential of the spotted hyena microbiome. I would like to explore how an organism's behavior shapes its microbial communities, and how, in turn, microbial communities influence their host's behavioral phenotype, physiology, and fitness. As of now, we are exploring microbial community composition and structure at 5 body sites (mouth, nares, ears, prepuce, scent pouch, and anus). I ultimately want to become a professor of evolution at a research-intensive university, and teach, as well as mentor undergraduate students. I am very involved with various student organizations at MSU, passionate about advancing the Latino community, and believe that service, community-engagement and activism are central to my role as a researcher and academic.
You can find Connie's personal website here: http://conniearojas.weebly.com/