Gina Vaira Munir has turned her passion and interest in animals into a career as she continues to finish her educational journey to obtain her PhD in Biological Anthropology.

Munir attributes her success and deep love of animals to her humble upbringing. She had been exposed to many of life's lessons growing up on her family farm and taught all about morals, values and work ethic working at her parents' business from a very young age.

In 2018 while interning at the Pittsburgh Zoo, Munir worked with a pair of siamangs (gibbon species) and she became fascinated by the intelligence of the female, Leela. This fascination commenced a journey, which would lead Munir into her cognitive studies with gibbons. Munir was also fortunate enough to help raise a baby siamang (Cahya) that could not be cared for by her mother. She still maintains a close relationship with Cahya and she is a participant in Munir's doctoral studies investigating episodic memory capabilities. Additionally, Munir has also interned at zoos across the country and visited places around the world to learn more about this species along with many others along the way. She has studied at the Primate Research Institute in Japan, hiked and camped in the Bornean jungles of Malaysia, and has embraced all the new cultures and species of primates she has been introduced to throughout her travels.

Munir works as an Adjunct Professor at both California University of Pennsylvania and West Kentucky Community and Technical College while she continues her own education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She is also a member of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, International Primatological Society, American Society of Primatologists, Animal Behavior Society and Sigma Xi.

Munir's research, adventures, and animal interactions, most specifically with Cayha the siamang, impacted her so greatly that she decided to write a children's book. Her book, "Siti and Cayha," has been published and is now sold at several popular outlets. Munir's book is an exciting yet eye-opening adventure for kids that brings awareness to the challenges wildlife and their habitats are facing around the world. 100% of all profits from her book sales go to support her research with gibbons and to other organizations that contribute to animal welfare and conservation.

Munir is one of the first scientists to conduct an in-depth study on gibbon behavior and cognition using non-invasive, interactive research methods such as touchscreen technology and computer software. She has received numerous awards and grants for her research with gibbons including an honorable mention for "Outstanding Student Research Presentation" at the American Society of Primatologists national conference in Washington D.C., 2017. Her research has also been published in accredited scientific academic journals including Animal Behavior and Cognition and The Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Science. Munir also serves as a research advisor for the Gibbon Species Survival Plan (SSP) in association with the Association of Zoo Aquariums (AZA) of North America. She has also been invited to speak about her research at the International Gibbon Husbandry and IUCN SSC Primate Specialists Group Conference, which will be held in 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

After graduating from Elizabeth Forward in 2011, Munir went on to attend California University of Pennsylvania (2012-2016), obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Environmental Science; she then attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2016-2018) where she earned her Masters degree in Biology. During her time at IUP, Munir conducted her thesis on siamang cognition, which led to her decision to attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale to pursue a doctorate in Biological Anthropology (2018-ABD), where she currently continues to conduct her research pertaining to gibbon cognition.

In her free time, Munir enjoys spending time on her parents'farm, where she likes to constantly surprise them with new resident animals she rescues along her adventures. She also enjoys visiting the gibbons that started it all, Leela, at the Cape May County Zoo and Cahya at Erie Zoo. When she is not teaching or conducting research, Munir helps out her parents at their family business. Munir currently resides in Elizabeth with her husband, Baber Munir, where they spend much of their free time with their menagerie of animals and Munir's parents, Louis and Pamela Vaira, and sister, Rachel (Vaira) Lesniewski and her nephews, J.J. and Cole. She wants to thank her husband and family for their continued support and for believing in her from day one. Last but not least she wants to thank her animal family that have changed her life and helped make her the person she is today.