When I tell people I am a bat genomicist, I enjoy the confused stares. It gives me the window to explain how cool my job is.
I think I’ve always wanted to be a conservation biologist, even before I knew that it was a real career. It broke my heart that the biodiversity that makes the world interesting was rapidly disappearing. But what could I do?
PRI has given me the opportunity to professionally ask questions and explore mysteries around me. My lab and my team are constantly investigating new ways to increase efficiency in a moment in time where every day counts for endangered species. I can only hope that my work will help future generations live more harmoniously with nature and help usher in a new way of thinking about our role on the planet.
I started learning about women who shattered expectations, both for themselves and in regard to our duty to protect the nature around us. Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson specifically taught me that I could make a difference without needing to conform to society’s expectations of what a scientist should be like. I believe it’s important to bring humor and humanity to these serious topics, to make space at the table for often quieted voices, and to allow the left and right brain to make peace within a career as a scientist.
I never intentionally chose to be a conservation biologist—It never really felt like an option. I am called every day to wake up and do my best to protect imperiled species… but that’s a large and vague goal. Bat genomics sort of happened accidentally. I knew I needed to specialize, and genomics gave me tools to ask questions that feel like science-fiction magic and fighting for these unique and maligned animals is a worthy (and honestly a very fun) cause.