Margaret Byron

I grew up in State College, Pennsylvania, right in the backyard of Penn State. Though my whole family-- sisters, parents, aunts, uncles-- all went to Penn State, I decided to strike out and sow some wild oats-- I went to Princeton for my undergrad degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, then went all the way out to Berkeley, California for my PhD in Civil/Environmental engineering (I study environmental fluid mechanics, turbulence, and the biomechanics of animal swimming). I stayed in California for a while, eventually moving to Los Angeles after my PhD to complete a postdoc at UC Irvine; in the interim, I met my husband (a fellow grad student at Cal). We decided to enter the faculty job market at the same time, despite dismal statistics on the dual-career couples we knew and much nay-saying from various authorities. We knew our chances were not high, but we decided to try anyway. The first interview I landed was here at Penn State, where all my family still lived. I remember the night before the interview-- I was staying in a hotel on campus, across the street from my grandmother's house and ten minutes from the house I grew up in. My sister met me at the bar the night before to help me get my jitters out, and looked me in the eye to say "You know this is God, right?" I was reluctant to acknowledge it at the time, but a few months later both my husband and I had tenure-track faculty offers at Penn State. We had been on the job market for exactly four months. God was so clearly calling us to come work here at Penn State! Though the life of a professor can be hard at times, I receive what seems like divine affirmation on a regular basis. I see God's hand in the opportunities I have to interact with my students, my colleagues, and others I encounter. I am looking forward to what else He has in store for me!

My Life

My hobbies

Cooking, travel, music, knitting, hiking

My undergrad alma mater

Princeton University

In college I drove

A bike!

If I weren't a professor, I would

write songs and/or novels

Favorite books

Til We Have Faces (CS Lewis); Kingkiller Chronicle (Patrick Rothfuss); The Bone Clocks (David Mitchell); et very al

Favorite movies

The Truman Show; all Indiana Jones movies

Favorite city

Melbourne, Australia

Favorite coffee

Brown Cow Latte (from State College's hipster used bookstore, made with local chocolate milk)

Current Research

I work on turbulent transport of large particles, as well as the biomechanics and fluid dynamics of animals swimming in complex environments.