Have You Met... Claire Scavuzzo?

Have you met Claire, a psychology instructor in the Faculty of Science?


To celebrate Science Literacy Week, we’re introducing you to Claire Scavuzzo, an instructor in the Faculty of Science and in the U of A’s free Science Literacy MOOC. Spend a few minutes getting to know her better.

What is your first U of A memory?

Being overly impressed with the dino fossils scattered throughout the highly connected pedway system! It was November 2011 and I was visiting my boyfriend (now husband) who was working as a post-doc. We needed to get to a lab meeting. It was cold, so we picked up a warm cinnamon bun at Sugarbowl and walked quickly to the law building. From there, I was escorted — almost entirely indoors — to the Biological Sciences Centre, greeted periodically by the skull or leg bone of a long lost species.   

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

It’s the start of the school year and I should be refreshed and excited, but to be completely honest, I am burned out. The uncertainty of day-to-day activities, the demands of child care, the lack of regular visits with my family, watching my students suffer in online learning environments... it’s all had a relatively low cost on my physical health, but has been hard on my mental health. I am trying to remember to do more self-care. I hope my coworkers do, too! 

What’s your favourite distraction?

Eavesdropping and people-watching.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

Introduction to Cree.

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

Forgetting to look up when I am walking and looking at my phone.

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod (Canadian TV hosts and athletes best known for BodyBreak).

If you could see any live performance tomorrow, what would it be?

An Olympic 800-metre women’s race without testosterone limits.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Do not be intimidated by experts, they are only human. Instead, ask questions — you’ll learn something, and it flatters them! 

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

The feeling of the sun on my skin.

What three words describe your U of A experience?

Bike, dinos, teach.

In honour of Science Literacy Week (Sept 20-26), what advice would you give to help people become more science literate in their daily lives? 

Be open to listening to ideas that differ from your own. A conflict in opinion is an opportunity to discuss evidence or test a hypothesis!

About Claire

Claire Scavuzzo is a neuroscientist studying learning and memory in the context of brain oscillations and brain metabolism. Claire teaches neuroscience courses in the department of Psychology at the University of Alberta. She received a PhD in neuroscience and a BSc double-majoring in molecular and cellular biology and psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.