What do you do?
I have the best job in the world! I facilitate students in designing and creating prototypes to solve real-world problems and present their work in local, state, national, and international competitions.
Why did you choose this field?
I remember clearly when I knew I would be a scientist. I was exploring and discovered fossils on the Appalachian Mountains where I lived when I was 10 years old. I collected, sorted, and reorganized them by their different properties. I was classifying before I even knew that is what I was doing! From that point on, I had the desire to figure out how the natural world worked and changed over time.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I wish the younger me knew that one day I would find a diplodocus fossil on a dig in Montana that would end up in a museum!!
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love watching my students pursue their passions. I wake up each morning knowing that I will make a difference to a student that day!
Best advice for next generation?
Girls, accept that you can achieve any goal you desire. Achieving that goal takes persistence and patience. I earned my Ph.D. the month I turned 50! You may not be able to achieve your goal in a perfect timeline, but it is possible if you do not quit.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland