Today we discuss the epic journey from adolescence to adulthood in humans and other animals, and how small acts of kindness and being fully present can change the world.


My first guests, Harvard evolutionary biologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, and applied animal behaviorist and science writer Kathryn Bowers have released a 5-year scientific study on teen behavior in WILDHOOD: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals.

In their research, Barbara and Kathryn studied adolescence across species for a source of crucial information to understand modern adolescent issues. They join me today to discuss why adolescents engage in risky behaviors, the essential life skills for adolescents to reach greater heights, and how adolescence has an evolutionary purpose for all living beings.

We are also joined by author and leadership consultant, Katy McQuaid, whose series of illustrated books, “Everybody Loves Grace,” shares adventures and heartwarming wisdom for life through the eyes of her beloved canine companion.

Katy joins me today to share how small acts of kindness and the gift of being fully present can change people’s lives and why looking at every day as an adventure can give hope and inspiration to anyone that’s navigating change or challenging circumstances in their lives.


We Discuss:

  • The epic journey from adolescence to adulthood in humans and other animals
  • Why adolescents with the lowest social status sometimes take desperate measures
  • Why adolescents engage in rebellious behavior and put themselves in risky situations
  • How anxiety has become widespread among adolescents and what can be done
  • Four life skills that every adolescent across species needs to go through to mature
  • Why one of the most important gifts we can give someone is the gift of being fully present
  • How even the smallest acts of kindness can change people’s lives and lift them up

“Even wild animals are not born knowing how to be adults. They have to learn from mentors and their peers. Adolescence is not a burden to be endured or a disease to be cured. It has an evolutionary purpose.–  Kathryn Bowers


About Barbara:
Image of Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. turns to the natural world for insights into health and development.

She is a Visiting Professor in Harvard University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and Professor of Medicine in the UCLA Division of Cardiology. Barbara co-directs the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Program.

In her work, she studies a diverse range of animals in their natural settings to uncover evolved adaptations with potential relevance to human health challenges.

She has used this approach to better understand heart failure and sudden cardiac death, neurological conditions including seizures, dementia, and movement disorders, infertility, and psychiatric conditions including anxiety, compulsive, and eating disorders.


About Kathryn:
Image of Kathryn Bowers

Kathryn Bowers is a Future Tense Fellow and was a Class of 2015 with the Fellows Program at New America.

She explores how geographic and biological environments help shape human cultures.

Kathryn has taught writing at UCLA and contributes editorially to Zócalo Public Square and Evolution: This View of Life.

She is co-author of Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health.

Previously, Bowers was a staff editor of the Atlantic, writer at CNN-International in London, and media liaison for USAID at the United States Embassy in Moscow, where she received a Meritorious Honor Award for her service. She is a graduate of Stanford University.


About Katy:
Image of Katy McQuaid

Author and leadership consultant Katy McQuaid spent more than three decades in the CIA, including 12 years living abroad.

Her work in communities all over the world and the endearing, unconditional love of her four-legged muse, Grace, inspired her to write the “Everybody Loves Grace” series of illustrated books.

Parents, kids of all ages, executives, and organizational leaders hail the series as a beacon of hope and inspiration for anyone navigating change or challenging circumstances.

Katy is the founder of McQuaid Corporate Performance, LLC and a graduate of Penn State University where she attended on a full scholarship, lettered all four years as a swimmer, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. She is also a graduate of the Vanguard Executive Development Program at Duke University and the Pinnacle Executive Leader Program at Kellogg’s School of Management. Katy’s goal is to support people and organizations in experiencing successful, meaningful, and empowered transformations.

Katy was the first female Senior Executive in the CIA’s Logistics Career Service as well as the first Senior Executive Support Officer in the South Asia War Theater (and the first and only female to date in the position). She also held a key Support Officer position during the transition of US intelligence activities from one city to another in one of the largest European offices.

Katy served as an Elder at Pathways Church in Denver, Colorado and currently serves as Chair of the Dorcas Aid America Board of Directors. Learn more at


“Something good can come of change, and our positive experiences can result from uncertainty or difficult times.”  –  Katy McQuaid


Check out the video below to watch our interview:


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