Elizabeth Long

Director of Conservation Science, Mohonk Preserve

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Take the time to explore until you have found that path that is best for you.

What do you do?

I oversee a research station that engages with researchers at universities, recreational land users, community scientists, and students to study the natural history of an 8000-acre Preserve.

Why did you choose this field?

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a biologist, but when I was young I didn't know what that looked like. I was advised by guidance counselors and academic advisors to either become a Veterinarian or a Park Ranger. Neither of those was quite the right fit. I knew I wanted a career that let me be outside in nature, and that involved the process of discovery. It took a LOT of trial and error before I found my niche.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Getting a PhD in Ecology! That honestly didn't occur to me until I was in my 20s, and I definitely didn't do the "right" things as an undergraduate student to prepare for graduate school.

Why do you love working in STEM?

For a long time my favorite thing about working in STEM was getting to be outside, getting to observe nature, and getting to learn and discover. More recently, though, I have really come to love the role of mentor to other women science. I see so much potential in our future generation of scientists and I'm so inspired by what they are already doing.

Best advice for next generation?

Your journey is not going to look the same as anyone else's so don't spend negative energy comparing yourself to others and thinking of what you "should" have done. Take the time to explore until you have found that path that is best for you.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"You are a beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful Muskox." Leslie Knope

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