February 2020

Garry Sotnik is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Environment and Sustainability, modeling human-forest interaction in Michigan’s Northwoods. He received his Master’s in Economics from Boston University and a PhD in Systems Science from Portland State University. With his research, Garry aims to improve scientific understanding of the role interactions among cognitive, behavioral, social, and demographic processes play in human-nature interaction.

You mention in your application that your model is already of broad academic interest. Do you plan to stay within academia or do you have other plans? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Yes, I plan to stay in academia and in five years hope to be an assistant professor preparing to become an associate professor.

What motivated you to choose to stay within academia?
I choose to stay in academia because it allows me to be at the cutting edge exploring subject matters that are important to humanity.

What has been the biggest obstacle to your work, and how did you adjust your plans to meet your goals?
The biggest obstacle is the cross-disciplinary nature of my research. I study interactions between cognitive, behavioral, social, demographic, and biophysical processes. While integrating theories from all these different fields of study is one of my most favorite activities, it’s also the most challenging.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of the lab?
My main hobby currently is raising a toddler. I enjoy observing his thought process and interactions with the world.

Your application mentions working with troubled animals, tell us about that?
In regards to working with troubled animals, it’s something I do when an opportunity arises. On several occasions my dog Hannah and I were able to socialize highly aggressive and antisocial dogs. I also had several opportunities to socialize half-wild horses.