Advice for Scientists of the Future
I'm so proud of all of you for being great representatives of Humboldt last week. All of the teachers and scientists here have been very impressed with your respectful attitudes, hard work and great questions. I have read all of the Comments you wrote in the computer lab. Good job on the Planet Green Game! I could tell that you have learned a lot about global warning and climate change.
This morning I interviewed Mark and Rebecca using the questions that YOU wrote. I hope that their words will inspire some of you to become the scientists of the future.
Rebecca Hazen, age 32, was born in Binghamton, New York. When she graduated from high school, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do. She decided to go to a local community college, but she didn't study very hard and even skipped classes once in a while. One day, a teacher asked her to stay after class. He asked her why she didn't take school seriously. He said that he noticed in the lab that she "thought like a scientist" and encouraged her to consider science as a career.
She decided to transfer to a 4-year college called State University of New York (SUNY) - Cortland where she had a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She paid for college with student loans and some help from her grandfather. She is now working on a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. She sometimes spends long hours in the lab, but her schedule is flexible. By the time she finishes, she will have been in college for 12 years!
She hopes to become a university professor someday. Rebecca loves her work because you never know how experiments will turn out, and new questions constantly come up.
Rebecca's advice for high school students: When something seems difficult, stay with it. You never know what new adventures and opportunities are just around the corner.
Mark Fox, age 33, is from Maryland. As a high school student, he got a good score on his PSAT test, so he received a scholarship to attend the University of Maryland. He got a bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's degree in Parasitology. Now he is working toward a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University.
He says that his interest in becoming a scientist came from watching Indiana Jones movies. When he was 12 years old, he got the idea of becoming a botanist and going to the jungle to study plants. He later decided to study bugs instead! He loves being outdoors and with people who like learning new things. He is currently studying how the flooding of saltwater marshes affect plants, insects and other members of the food web.
Mark's advice for high school students: Talk to your teachers and professors and get to know them. Look for volunteer opportunities in your field.
Yesterday, we paddled our kayaks to work on a plot along the West Pearl River. Luckily, we didn't meet "El Guapo" (our 15-foot alligator friend) along the way. I've included a picture of me hitting a branch with a stick, while another teacher holds the beat sheet over her head. Look at the expression on her face as the caterpillars fall like rain! Can you find some on the sheet?
Tomorrow, we will leave the swamp and head back to New Orleans. I need to be careful that none of the caterpillars crawl into my suitcase!