Chanda, born and raised in Brooklyn, holds a B.S. in natural resources/wildlife management from Cornell, as well as an M.A. in conservation biology and an M.A. in ecology, evolution and environmental biology from Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. conducting research on population genetics of invasive species, and is a bat (chiropteran) enthusiast and Star Wars and Star Trek fan. She loves traveling with family, action movies, remote-controlled cars, and 1970s TV shows.