Adopt a Scientist
Name: Dr Jessica Reeves
Highest degree obtained: PhD
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: Federation University Australia
Job Title: Senior Lecturer
Job Description: I lecture in Environmental Management and Sustainability and research long-term climate and environmental change and human impacts on wetlands.
Work Environment: My research takes me to wetlands across Australia – although most of my work these days is on estuaries in Victoria.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I am passionate about the connection between people and landscapes through time.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? The greater interest in science by everyday people.
What in science are you most concerned about? Politicians and other leaders making decisions not based on scientific evidence.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: I collected sediment cores using a handmade raft in a lake on an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, that had a crocodile in it the week before.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? Prof Jim Bowler for his passion for the first Australians and his ability to communicate his science to all – from farmers to kids to politicians.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? Balancing a scientific career and family.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? It’s an experience I would love to be able to share with my daughter and others like her.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? In order to reach your future potential, you need to see it first. Dream big – dream clearly – and a path will appear.
Name: Deborah Pardo
Highest degree obtained: PhD
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: British Antarctic Survey
Job Title: Population modeller
Job Description: I am an ecologist, studying causes and consequences of population decline. I specialize on how climate change and fisheries interact to make albatross living in the Southern Ocean one of the most endangered bird family on earth.
Work Environment: I work mostly at the computer designing population models. However I have still been doing some fieldwork – twice in southern territories for 6 months in total in Kerguelen and the Falklands.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? A huge curiosity and respect for animals and nature. I want to understand how each species interacts with its environment and how we can teach humans to take better care of this planet.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? Struggling with population models and finally get it to work and see the results of your research which give answer to a biological question, the adrenaline of speaking and exchanging during conferences and of course the breath-taking sensation and immense respect when I am in front of the birds, watching them live in colonies and thrive with the winds and be so driven to protect their unique chick.
What in science are you most concerned about? Lack of funding and all the personal sacrifices that you make to follow your passions. I want to have a positive impact on the future of the planet; does an academic career offer that?
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: Seeing how the population models I was making apply in real life; Watching the birds fight for their lives and for that of their progeny is beautiful and inspiring.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? I would say my aunt because she is a very open, curious, and positive person who showed me how to analyse my feelings and the things and people around me, so I could make the best choices out of my life in a very simple and logical way.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? Leaving my family, loved hometown and culture and even my partner to develop my skills and knowledge. I was always torn between my career and my family. But we always say, we will see what the future holds for us and we do our best to have the chance to steer it in the direction we want. We believe this way of living has made us happier because it not linear and “boring”. We now have a little boy who is bringing even more joy into our lives.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I believe my story is full of lessons and is worth being shared to inspire the next generations and tell them concrete things about life.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? If your gut tells you that is what you want to do, just go for it, you are going to be amazing at it!
Name: Alison Davies
Highest degree obtained: MSci from the University of Cambridge
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: Met Office, UK
Job Title: Operational Meteorologist
Job Description: I forecast and observe the weather to assist the Royal Air Force in their operations
Work Environment: I work in an office on an airbase. I am also able to go on detachments overseas to other airbases.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I love the weather and looking at clouds. I also love that the weather is different every day, so no two days are the same.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? How we are constantly developing and improving our knowledge and can hopefully use this to help the world.
What in science are you most concerned about? Climate change and the impacts that it is already having on the planet. I am concerned that no real effort is being done to mitigate this.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: I have only been in this job for 8 months but in the next month I should get a flight in a Hawk which is the aircraft that the Red Arrows, the RAF display team, fly.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? A historical person I have always been inspired by is Amelia Earhart because she was such a pioneering woman and managed to do some really amazing things and never gave up.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? I have always been in a very male-dominated environment which can be intimidating and difficult.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I think it is important for youth to be inspired and be able to see all the different careers available to them, particularly in science, that you can get somewhere as a girl. If I can help with this, that would be fantastic.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? To persevere and be interested in everything – there is so much going on in science in a whole variety of areas.
Name: Robyn Lucas
Highest degree obtained: PhD
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University
Job Title: Professor and Head
Job Description: I am an epidemiologist who studies the effect of environmental exposures on health. More specifically I look at the effects of sun exposure (ultraviolet radiation) and vitamin D on immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. I have also done a bit of work looking at the effects of climate change on health, and particularly on immune function.
Work Environment: I work largely in an office in front of a computer (sadly!). In the past I have done fieldwork where we recruit participants and ask them questions and take body measurements and blood, but mainly my junior staff do those jobs now.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I trained in medicine a long time ago. Then I stayed home with kids for 20 years and during that time became more interested in preventing disease than treating it, and looking at prevention for whole populations rather than in individuals. I did a PhD looking at how social status influences health and the biological pathways involved, and became really interested in the immune system. It is that system that really keeps tabs on the body’s interaction with the external environment, and also needs to be tolerant of the internal environment, so that is doesn’t attack our own tissues. So that is pretty cool how it has evolved to do that.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? Delving into the unknown, understanding how things affect our health, and how we can translate that knowledge into improving the health of whole populations.
What in science are you most concerned about? Climate change and leaving the decisions to scientists that are maybe not looking at the big (e.g. evolutionary) picture, and who don’t think about health of humans and ecosystems.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: I sit on the United Nations Environment Program Environmental Effects Assessment Panel for the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depletion. I lead the health section of that. Our panel is made up of physicists, health scientists from various disciplines, experts in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, air quality, materials and biogeochemical cycling. The great thing about it is having people from a wide range of disciplines sharing and contributing their expertise.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? I don’t really have either a role model or a mentor.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? First, I grew up in the country and it was a challenge even to get the grades to get into medical school. My early years in medicine were in a highly gendered environment – and some of my experiences in that were not very pleasant. I came back to do a PhD and then be an early career researcher when I was in my late 40s (and with four children) – so early career rather than “young”! I have had pretty poor supervision experiences and have had to succeed despite those, rather than because of them.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I have four kids and think I relate pretty well to younger people. I also have a passion for supporting and developing younger people who are interested and prepared to work, to achieve whatever it is they are aiming to achieve.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? I have two daughters, both with PhDs in science (a physicist at MIT and a recently graduated zoologist/entomologist). I guess my advice to them has always been to pursue your passion, find a supportive supervisor, be strong, and don’t accept anyone’s stereotypes – you can be anything you want to be!
Name: Betty Trummel
Highest degree obtained: Masters in Science/Outdoor Education
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: The Science Roadshow (my own business–educational outreach). I am retired from 35 years of elementary classroom teaching and 10 years of university teaching.
Job Title: Education Outreach Specialist.
Job Description: I am a scientist and educator who is passionate about spreading the word about science to a broader community, including “students” of all ages. I am particularly focused on encouraging girls to get involved in science and to consider STEM careers.
Work Environment: I have worked not only in classroom settings, but in remote areas as well. I have been deployed to Antarctica 3 times as part of education and outreach teams associated with on-going geologic research in the McMurdo Station/Ross Sea region. I’ll be traveling to Svalbard (Arctic archipelago) later this summer…working with an Italian education colleague to lead an expedition to this unique and remote Arctic wilderness. Most of our students (20 of 22) will be Italian high school girls. I can’t wait!
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I had wanted to be a teacher from about the third grade onward. I never changed course or regretted my decision. I had an AMAZING 35 year career and it’s not over yet!!!
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? The natural world, our polar regions, plants, ANIMALS, marine biology…and geology!
What in science are you most concerned about? The natural world…climate change, how we can be better stewards of this earth we live on.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: I would have to say my three experiences in Antarctica. Please visit: www.scienceroadshow.wordpress.com to see why!
Who is your role model or mentor and why? Sylvia Earle, who I met on a National Geographic weekend a few years back, is an amazing woman role model to me. She has worked tirelessly for education and the oceans.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? It was always a challenge to find the resources and programs I wanted and needed to keep getting professional development. I learned, early on in my career, that I had to TAKE CHARGE and find these opportunities for myself. I couldn’t be shy, and I did not give up
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I love to work with students, not only to teach them, to learn new things as well.
What advice do you have for young girls considering a career in science? To keep at it, not give up when roadblocks come your way, to keep learning….always!
Name: Shelley Ball
Highest degree obtained: PhD in Biology (evolutionary ecology and population genetics of insects)
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: Biosphere Environmental Education
Job Title: Founder, president and chief operating officer of Biosphere Environmental Education
Job Description: Right now I am exploring a new career path by combining science with business. It’s a lot different from being a research scientist and university professor. But I wanted to create a business that let’s me combine my passions – science, photography, and education. I use my science expertise in designing my environmental education programs and in putting together videos, photo essays, and other communication pieces that help educate people about nature. I do a variety of things ranging from researchering about environmental issues to building my website, doing marketing and social media and giving presentations to schools.
Work Environment: I run Biosphere from my home. Right now, most of my work involves using a computer but when I run our programs, such as the Youth Environmental Ambassadors Program – an environmental learning program for high school students – I’ll get to travel with youth, to amazing places around the world, such as Greenland, Alaska, the Great Bear Rainforest, Borneo, Africa, the Galapagos.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? My passion for biology and nature started when I was 3 years old and it never stopped. I loved being a research scientist and university professor. But over the years, I became interested in using my skills and expertise to do something to help address the environmental challenges facing our planet, through education.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? I love how science research leads to incredible discoveries. There is so much we don’t know about our world. Science helps us understand the world around us. I also love how technology development can help us solve problem such as climate change, through creating new ways to harness ‘clean’ and renewable energy sources which will hopefully help us put the brakes on rising CO2 levels and global climate change.
What in science are you most concerned about? Climate change and sustainability. The fact that our lifestyle in Canada and in most developed countries, is not sustainable is really concerning. We need to find ways for all people on this planet, to live comfortable and safe lives, but with a much, much smaller impact on the planet.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: I’ve been so lucky to do so many AMAZING things in my career as a scientist. One of the most interesting was that I spent 5 months working at 14,000 feet altitude, on the top of the Colorado Rocky Mountains doing research on birds. We were catching, banding, and radio-tracking birds all summer. I’ve also spent time in the tropical forests of Costa Rica, the desert southwest of the United States, and have explored the coastline, mountains, and forests of New Zealand.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? From the science and conservation perspective, Dr. Sylvia Earle -a world famous marine biologist and oceanographer – is one of my science heros. A wonderful mentor I had was my Master’s degree supervisor at University of Toronto – Dr. Rob Baker. I think I learned more about being a scientist, from him than from any other person.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? I grew up with learning disabilities that were never formally diagnosed. I spent a lot of time in remedial classes in primary school. It was really hard and I really struggled. But My grade 3 and grade 5 teachers helped me a lot. I was able to go from a kid who struggled in school to one who earned a PhD in biology and became a university professor.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I love sharing my passion for science with people. I hope I can inspire some students to pursue careers in science by showing them what I have done.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? If there’s something you are passionate about and really want to do, find a way to do it. Work hard and don’t give up! And believe in yourself! Some days you might feel like you can’t do something, but keep trying. Most people succeed in life not because of their talent, but because of their hard work.
Name: Joanna Young
Highest degree obtained: Masters Geophysics
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: Geophysical Institute and Girls on Ice, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Job Title: PhD student and lead instructor of Girls on Ice Alaska
Job Description: I’m a glaciologist who studies how the glaciers of Alaska are losing mass in warming temperatures, and how that impacts global sea level rise. I am also a program coordinator and lead instructor for Girls on Ice Alaska, a unique science and mountaineering experience for high school girls on an Alaskan glacier.
Work Environment: I do a lot of field work on glaciers in the remote mountain ranges of Alaska, which I access by foot, bike, ski, airplane, and helicopter! I also spend a lot of time analyzing data in my office at the Geophysical Institute.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I have always been interested in physics, but started out in astrophysics – I was very keen on studying stars and galaxies. But one day, I realized that I needed a career that combined my love of science with my need to get outside to beautiful places, and learning more about the natural world, instead of spending too much time indoors in front of a computer. I explored a few different field sciences before discovering glaciology, and realized that this area of geophysics was a great way to combine my physics background with a fascination and appreciation for nature. I’ve been exploring glaciers and mountain landscapes since then.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? Anything related to learning about and understanding the things we see in nature. How did that mountain form? Where does this river go, and why? Why does that plant grow here and not there?
What in science are you most concerned about? Climate change, as someone who sees first-hand how dramatic the effects are on our landscapes, our freshwater supply, and everything (plants, animals, people) who depend on that water source
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: Starting up the Girls on Ice Alaska program. There is nothing I love more than taking a group of excited young women into the backcountry to show them how much they can learn and grow, in science, in mountaineering, in team and leadership skills, and in self-confidence. I love to witness the transformation that occurs as young women realize that they are capable of so much more than they ever thought.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? One of my advisors, Dr. Erin Pettit, has been an enormous mentor and teacher to me. She started up the Girls on Ice program, and continues to dream up big ideas that inspire the next generation of young women to explore science. She also continues to inspire me to dream big, and to never say “That can’t be done” before first saying “Let’s give it a try!”
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? Self-doubt. It took me a long time (and is still an ongoing area of work for me) to realize that I have something unique to offer to science and the world, and that I should focus on building those strengths and being my best!
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I am excited beyond words about getting to see the great white expanse of Antarctica, an entire continent covered in ice! I am just thrilled about the possibility of sharing that with a group of students as excited as I am to learn more about this corner of our amazing world!
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? Don’t doubt yourself. You know yourself and your talents better than anyone else. You will achieve what you set your heart to!
Name: Joana Correia
Highest degree obtained: current graduate student
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: Natural Resource Institute in the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Job Title: graduate student
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I choose Natural Resource Management and Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology because I want to make a difference in the world through the understanding of our Planet’s Natural Resources. My main interest is on fisheries; it is just fascinating to me how fishing is one of the oldest ways to extract a natural resource and yet we have never fully grasped, till this day, how diverse and dynamic fisheries are.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to persue a career in science? From a very young age, as soon as school had us write down a list of what we wanted to be when we grow up, in second grade (so 7 years old), among my list of 24 professions at the top was always marine biologist. I didn’t even know what that meant, I just remember telling my teacher that I wanted to be outside all the time, to be by the ocean and to understand the aquatic world and its creatures. She then told me that for that I could go on and be a marine biologist. I have always been and still am very curious about the marine world, and knowing that I could pursue such a career was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? When applying for colleges I was still very naïve and never thought too much about the underrepresentation of women in my field and/or in academia. All around me there were powerful women, and great role models, and also I lived in my own dream world. Daydreaming is my specialty, my mum use to say. As I grew up and began to think more about my future and my sisters’ future it became very clear to me that this is still vey much a man’s world. But like Aretha Franklin’s lyrics state it really would be nothing without a woman or a girl. The hard part for me has really been to constantly need to prove myself over and over again, and to have to just always be prepared to respond to all kinds of critiques that I would not receive if I were a man. Whether at school/work or in the field, there are always certain critiques and comments on what, for instance, we as women are allowed to wear and even how we should present ourselves. And depending on your fieldwork location, due to different ethnicities for instance, it is understandable that certain things should be discussed with your supervisor. However, I have heard the difference between the speeches given to a male graduate student and then to a female graduate student and regardless of the content the tone is always off to me. As if we just need to accept the way the world is and then do our best not change it.
How did you overcome those obstacles? I became empowered and could then overcome such obstacles by sharing my story with others and more importantly hearing from other women whether in my field or in a different field. It was through this sharing of stories and ideas that I began to understand how I had to first recognize what I was conditioned to (e.g.: how to behave as a women in our modern society), and then change this conditioning as to be more in control of certain situations. I never realized it before, but now more than ever, we as women, we have been conditioned to behave in a certain way, which on many occasions it is really what stops us from challenging our professors, supervisors, friends and partners. We need to challenge stereotypes, and collectively recognize sexism.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? First, to make your life easier, and this will definitely help you choose a career, whether or not this is in science – always challenge stereotypes and individually and/or collectively recognize sexism. Second, don’t be scared to ask for help, that is what your peers are there for, they are there to help you decide. This is a wonderful time, where you get to explore your passion for science, and don’t think there is a rule that tells you that you can only pick one field of studies. The best thing about science is that it can give you the freedom to be creative while in search of answers about the wonders of our world – human and non-human. Third, as a scientist you are constantly in search of answers, and so you have to be open to get to know yourself really well, so you do not stay stuck. The scientific world is constantly changing, and to be the best scientist you can be you have to change with it.
What do you hope to achieve in your science career? I hope to always be able to have a voice and create a different discourse every time I’m involved in men-dominated projects.
Name: Carol Devine
Highest degree obtained: MSc
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, Society of Women Geographers, Member of the Humanities and Social Sciences Expert Group of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
Job Title: Humanitarian Advisor, Policy Researcher
Job Description: I’m a global and earth health advocate.
Work Environment: I work both in the field collecting data and testimonies and collaborating and negotiating with diverse stakeholders and in Médecins sans Frontières’ head office investigating how to improve people’s health and wellbeing, especially vulnerable groups affected by conflict, epidemics and disasters including climate crises. I try to help influence policy and law to affect change. I also engage in research, writing, science communication and science-art work regarding circumpolar health and polar ecology.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I have a strong sense of justice and wanderlust and I feel lucky as a Canadian that I can contribute to make the world a bit better.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? political science, astrophysics
What in science are you most concerned about? anti-science or science denialists and the impact on health both regarding climate and how AIDS is caused. Fortunately in both cases, evidence is respected in the majority of cases. As for vaccinating, anti-science still is powerful.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: In the spirit of The Antarctic Treaty that devotes this continent to peace and science, I led a civilian cleanup expedition for a Canadian environmental foundation in cooperation with the Russian Antarctic Research Expedition. We did a humble amount of cleaning of debris abandoned in Antarctica but we had a wonderful collaboration that hopefully had reverberations beyond the actual 3 month project at Bellingshausen station.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? My role model is Jane Goodall. Not only did she change the way we think about how intelligent and like us animals are but she also makes the connections between the wellbeing of communities and the wellbeing of primates and other animals.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? I had to overcome attitudes that what I wanted to achieve was impossible or too risky – sometimes my own fear too. I have arrived in places where people hadn’t expected a woman or a young woman but I feel I held my ground because I was so committed to what I was doing and knew I was the right person to be there.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I think mentoring is so important during one’s lifetime. We benefit and see ourselves sometimes by knowing the paths of others. What a treat to have a living mentor to interact with! I had the fortune to have some wonderful mentors and I’d like to do the same and be one. I think I also learn something too but it’s a chance to listen and share from experience, to encourage and give a few case studies or stories for the mentee’s reflection.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? Go for it! It’s an incredible world where you can explore the world, yourself and do good.
Name: Holly North
Highest degree obtained: B App Sc in Ecosystem Management and GIS/Remote Sensing
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service
Job Title: Ranger
Job Description: I’m a National Park Ranger managing lands and threats to values in national parks. My main responsibilities are fire management, pest and weed management, cultural heritage management and recreational / visitor management.
Work Environment: I do planning and GIS work in the office and monitoring and implementation of programs out in the field. I’m probably outdoors in the parks about 3/4 of the time.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? My love of the natural world and the deep spirituality of Australian indigenous culture and caring for Country.
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? I have been working on shorebird conservation programs and get very enthusiastic about birds, beach nesting birds, and getting eggs and chicks to fledgling status where they can look after themselves a bit more easily and have a better chance of survival. Beach Stone-curlews and Pied Oystercatchers andnLittle Terns are the main birds we work with to manage threats to their breeding success on the beaches of far northern New South Wales in Australia.
What in science are you most concerned about? climate change and stupid greedy developers, actually they are not that stupid unfortunately. loss of habitat is the main cause of species extinction in Australia, we have the unfortunate record of the highest rate of species extinction in the world. Climate change and other human causes such as vegetation clearing and polluting waterways with industrial waste all lead to habitat loss.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: helped to manage a monster wildfire with about 15,000 people from all different agencies in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I was assigned the role of Planning Officer and we managed to keep the fires from causing mass destruction of houses and lives with a lot of hard work and some amazing nighttime remote crews dropping in by helicopter and back burning all night. Incredible outcome and high risk strategies.
Who is your role model or mentor and why? A female manager who was my first supervisor in national parks. she is my go-to mentor when things get tough in the workplace. we are also best friends. she is so good at looking at the big picture and not letting a few setbacks make her want to throw in the towel. It’s still a very blokey workplace despite all of the legislation about workplace fairness and equality.
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? I started as a volunteer with the NPWS and worked at a number of temp jobs for over 10 yrs before I secured permanent employment. I think my American accent didn’t help, but once people have worked with you they don’t judge you as much on appearances. My own lack of confined do esp in job interviews was something I had to work on to get a coveted permanent ranger position. Also, my resume was a bit back to front, I spent a lot of time travelling a doing bitsa jobs around the world before I settled down with a partner and a house and was interested in a real job. In later years I have been able to turn this globe trotting experience into an asset in my career, and I think it was perhaps one of the reasons I was accepted into HB even though I never did post grad study.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I had a distinct lack of role models while I was growing up and wanted to become a scientist. I was also gay and didn’t have any role models for that! I want to mentor young people, to be the best they can be and help change the world.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? Find a mentor and get good advice. NEVER give up. follow your dreams.
Name: Sandra Kerbler ADOPTED!
Highest degree obtained: Bachelor of Science (Hons)
Institution/Organization/Affiliation: ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, the University of Western Australia
Job Title: PhD Candidate
Job Description: My PhD project aims to understand how plant central metabolism is affected by chilling stress, with the ultimate goal of improving the resilience of crop species in a changing environment.
Work Environment: I work in a laboratory that is part of a large plant research facility. Although I spend most of my time conducting experiments in the lab, I also spend quite a bit of time growing and taking care of my plants, so you could say I’m part scientist, part gardener.
What led you to follow the career that you are currently pursuing? I’ve always been fascinated by nature. Although I initially set out to become a conservation biologist saving endangered species, one of my professors at university introduced me to the field of molecular biology and since then I’ve been hooked!
What in science are you most enthusiastic about? Discovering the unknown, disproving common truths and figuring out how things really work.
What in science are you most concerned about? The difficulty women face to become leaders in their field. Although succeeding in academia is difficult for both men and women alike, women often face additional challenges and bias that make it particularly hard for them to succeed. I want to change these trends.
Describe the most interesting thing you’ve ever done during your career: Although my career in science is just beginning, I’ve had to opportunity to meet many different people from all over the world. Some of the places I’ve visited include: Singapore, Sydney, USA and Poland!
Who is your role model or mentor and why? My role model is Sir David Attenborough. Since I was a little girl, he inspired me to not only learn more about our natural world, but also protect it for future generations to come. Even in his 80s, he would travel to some of the most remote regions of the world to document the planet’s most interesting and intriguing creatures – I want to be that compassionate and courageous when I’m in my 80s!
What challenges did you overcome to get where you are today? Being the first woman in my family to go to university, it’s been challenging forging my own path in the world. However, even though my friends and family may not always understand what I’m doing, I know that I always have their support and that’s what keeps me going.
Why would you like to be adopted as an expedition mentor? I would love to be adopted as an expedition mentor as I’m passionate about engaging kids in science and in doing so, I hope to inspire them to pursue science as a career. I think it’s particularly important kids are exposed to good role models, so that they know that they too can make their dreams a reality, even if they are a girl or come from a disadvantaged background.
What advice to you have for young girls considering a career in science? Perseverance is key, so always give it your all and you’ll never look back. Science is tough, but if you’re passionate about what you do and are prepared to work hard, you can achieve anything!