Brad Balukjian, ph.d.

My parents probably knew I was going to be a bit different when I came home and proudly announced that I was one of two students (out of twentysome) who voted for Bert (over Ernie) in the 1984 Greenville Nursery School mock presidential election (apparently Bert and Ernie were more tractable candidates to the 4-year old mind than Reagan and Mondale). And so they probably weren't that surprised when I chose the perennially mediocre Philadelphia Phillies as my favorite baseball team, the despised Iron Sheik as my favorite wrestler, and the windswept, dreary Falkland Islands as my favorite archipelago (and thought nothing of having a favorite archipelago).

Throughout my life, I've always gravitated to the obscure, the overlooked, and the underdog. My lifelong passion for islands stemmed from a curiosity over the unnamed dots in the National Geographic Atlas, adrift in the world's oceans or squatting just off the coast of some much-better named shoreline. That passion has led me on many adventures, from a stint as a fact-checker for Islands Magazine to working for the Tahiti Tourist Board to completing a Ph.D. on plant bugs of the Tahitian Islands. I am now based in the San Francisco Bay area, teaching biology at Merritt College and writing about science and baseball nostalgia.