What do you do?
I am the award-winning author of more than 180 science books for children. I’ve written everything for board books for toddlers to young adult literature for teens. I’ve also co-authored three books for educators. Each year, I speak to about 25,000 children during school visits. I also present at conferences for educators.
Why did you choose this field?
Many writers know what they want to do from a young age, but when I was growing up, I loved science. As a biology major in college, I discovered that most professional scientists chose a specialty and spend their whole careers doing research in that area. But I wanted to know more about everything — plants and animals and geology and outer space. That’s how I knew I wasn’t cut out to do research. Luckily, one of my professors pointed me in the right direction. One day, she handed me an article from Discover magazine. It was about sequencing fruit fly DNA — the same topic as my senior honors thesis. “You could have written this article,” she said. “I think you’re a good writer, and maybe that’s the job for you.” A few days later, I applied to New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, and that launched me into a career that meshed my talent as a writer with my love of science.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I wish the younger me could have known that it’s possible to have a life doing something I love, where I’m my own boss and set my own schedule.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I feel honored to be able to share the beauty and wonder of the natural world with children of all ages. If one of my books or one of my presentations inspires a child to lift up a rock and look underneath or chase after a butterfly just to see where it’s going, then my job is done.
Best advice for next generation?
Don’t be afraid to be curious and ask every single question you can think of. Your mind, you thoughts, your ideas can change the world.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
When I publish a book, I’m often interviewed for radio shows or newspaper articles. One of the best questions I’ve ever been asked is “If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?” I replied that I’d be a question mark because I’m so naturally curious and because most of my books begin when I ask myself a question.