Random Sample

• Member since: 2007 (student affiliate)

• Current home: Portland, Ore.

• Occupation: Health psychology doctoral student at Walden University

• On the road: Though he was a strong high school student, Panneck didn't head straight to college. Instead, he bought a one-way bus ticket to Los Angeles. "I was reading Kerouac, and I thought, 'I need to just go and create my own adventure.'" He spent a few months surfing on both water and friends' couches. He then headed to Boulder to enroll at the University of Colorado, where he double majored in psychology and communication.

• First job: After graduation Panneck spent a year working as a mediator on landlord-tenant issues for the city of Boulder. "That was probably some of the best training I received as a psychologist—learning how to communicate with people in a neutral way," he says.

• Natural inspiration: For his dissertation, Panneck will head to South America to investigate the ways that indigenous people maintain their connection with nature. Specifically, he hopes to learn about shamans' healing rituals in Iquitos, Peru. "If I can somehow study what these shamans do, but package it in a way that is more accessible to Westerners, I can come up with some really good healing practices," he says.

• A musical mind : When Panneck isn't writing research papers, he often writes songs. A guitarist and drummer, he's a staple at Portland open mic nights. Panneck describes his music as "Jim Morrison-esque, dark poetry, humorous-type stuff." And while Panneck is shy in most scenarios, that falls away the moment he takes the stage, he says.

• Hobbies: Newly vegetarian, Panneck recently began collecting wild mushrooms—and has had great beginner's luck finding rare king boletes, porcini and matsutakes. "I went out to the coast and got about $200 worth of gourmet mushrooms," he says. "I cooked some of the most extravagant vegetarian meals I've ever come across."

• Food therapy: Not one to hoard his finds, Panneck frequently invites his friends over for wild mushroom stir fries and quiches. Working with ingredients so close to the earth helps keep him grounded, Panneck says. "When you really cook with reckless abandon, it's like the food is cooking you."

—S. Dingfelder

Each month, "Random Sample" profiles a randomly selected APA member. You might be next.