What do you do?
I teach at a women's university and spend my days trying to attract, empower and retain young women in STEM fields.
Why did you choose this field?
I was fortunate enough to have a high school science teacher who believed in me and helped build my confidence toward pursuing a STEM career. I also had parents who gave me microscopes and took me to natural history museums to encourage my love of dinosaurs. Today I am a paleontologist and I have invented a new method to predict the diet of ancient animals using a microscope.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I wish that I had had the confidence to pursue a Ph.D. sooner. I also wish I knew sooner how important it was to network and get female mentors in STEM early on.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because it is an ever-changing and dynamic field rich with endless possibilities. When I wake up, I look forward to thinking about my next research question and how I will go about testing it. I also think about how I can enrich my students so they can love STEM as much as I do.
Best advice for next generation?
Connect yourselves early on with a female STEM mentor and don't be afraid to reach out to someone you admire in a STEM field and advocate for yourself so you can get the guidance you need to persist in STEM despite the unique challenges that women often face.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.