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A busy weekend with Professor Dani Smith

By JISOO BAE | November 17, 2016


COURTESY OF DANI SMITH When Professor Dani Smith isn’t working on her research, she’s exploring Baltimore’s restaurants.

This week we interviewed Dani Smith, a research scientist and professor at Hopkins to see how she spends her weekends. Smith teaches Behavioral Assessment of Animal Models of Cognition and Neuropsychiatric Disorders.

With her stylish outfits and deep knowledge of animal models, Smith reminds us that it is possible to intensely and successfully study science and explore Baltimore at the same time.

The News-Letter: How long have you been in the Hopkins community and Baltimore?

Dani Smith: I moved to Baltimore to work at Hopkins 13 years ago. I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and I’ve lived in Brooklyn, Berkeley, Los Angeles and North Carolina before.

N-L: What do your weekends look like?

DS: Well, right now I’m really busy, preparing for class and working on my research. Recently, most of my weekends have been spent in my home office, working. Sometimes I only get four hours of sleep!

N-L: When you’re not busy, what are your favorite weekend activities in Baltimore?

DS: Wow. What is my favorite activity in Baltimore? Well, I love exploring restaurants. And when there are special events like Fleet Week, I try to make it. It was in the Inner Harbor, when the ships come. Oh, wait! What am I saying?... My favorite thing, hands down, is to go to Orioles games.

N-L: Can you tell me more about Fleet Week?

DS: Fleet Week is when a lot of the ships in the U.S. Navy come in. I grew up going to Fleet Week in San Francisco, and I also go to the one in New York. There are big aircraft carriers, destroyers and you get to go on these ships. I went down with my family to see it. It was definitely smaller than the ones in San Francisco, but we got to see the Blue Angels fly.

Doing an air show is one of the main features of any fleet week. They had submarines and all these interesting ships. But [Orioles] games. [Orioles] games are awesome. Camden Yards is a beautiful ball park. I love eating the bad food, and I’ll go with my whole family.

N-L: Do you ever go hiking or outdoors in Maryland or nearby?

DS: Absolutely! We are a camping family; We camp two or three times a year. We hike even more frequently than that. Camping in the spring and fall is optimal. Prettyboy Reservoir Park, Patapsco Valley State Park, the big state parks. Sometimes we go out to smaller places like Robert E. Lee Memorial Park. They have a lake there, Roland Lake. We’ve camped all over the state, basically.

So those are my outdoors activities. Camping and hiking in the spring and fall, and going to baseball games in the summer. Also, skiing in the winter. If you go to the Pennsylvania-Maryland line, there are places to ski. The snow is definitely more icy than other skiing places like Colorado.

N-L: Are there any places you’d like the explore in Baltimore, somewhere you haven’t been to?

DS: As I said before, I love going to restaurants. There are always new restaurants opening up in Baltimore. Right now, my favorite is The Food Market in Hampden, and this past Saturday, I went to Le Garage, and I really liked that. That’s also in Hampden. It’s sort of a fusion restaurant, American with a French flair to it.

Fleet Street Kitchen is also one of my favorite places. Definitely not the undergraduate hang-out restaurant, but it’s great for special occasions! If you’re on a budget, the place right next door, Ten Ten American Bistro, has the same kind of cuisine, but it’s not as expensive.


If Smith is able to explore restaurants, go hiking, attend neuroscience meetings and teach class, then we should be able to explore Baltimore and Maryland during the weekend as well.

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