OK, look, I won't lie, I do love talking to all of the people who have come on the podcast. But, there is one person I've been hoping to talk to since way back in Season 1. It's FIONA CROSS!
Fiona got her BSc (Hons) in Psychology in 2001 before she began working with spiders and then she got her MSc (with Distinction) in Zoology in 2003 and her PhD in Zoology in 2009, with all three degrees being at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Dr. Cross first went to Kenya to work with spiders in 2006, and has been a Visiting Scientist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (in Kenya) since 2010. Her research interests include selective attention, working memory, expectancy violation, and problem solving by spiders. Fiona never used to think that spiders could be particularly interesting, but she has since learned that spiders can do many remarkable things that could keep a person awake at night.
Dr. Cross has 46 publications, and her work has featured in many news sources including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, The Guardian, The New Zealand Herald, and Radio New Zealand. Fiona is sorta famous really, to quote her 'I got a fright when I first discovered there is a Wikipedia page about me, and I had to sit down when I discovered that a video about me had been viewed 12,000 times in one day'. (BTW, that fame is well deserved, she rocks). As an aside, there used to e a wikipedia page about me, but it was deleted because I suck....
She loves to communicate science, and has so far organized three of her own international speaking tours (one in the UK and two in North America). COVID permitting, she hopes to run a spider event for children at the Christchurch public library in October (the month of the year that arachnologists affectionately refer to as ‘Arachtober’). She's also keen on writing for all ages.
You can learn more about her and her work at her website (www.doctorspider.net).