What do you do at PRI?
I work as a Wetlands Geology Specialist—I aid in my section’s efforts to monitor and protect wetlands and surface water across the state of Illinois. My duties are a mix of field and office work.
What's a typical work day like for you?
If I’m in the field, a typical day has an early start and a drive to the site for the day. Then I spend the day walking through prairies and wetlands (in rain, sleet, snow, or sunshine), manually reading groundwater wells and downloading instruments that we use to measure different scientific parameters.
My office days vary, but involve working with field data in various programs, and has me looking at a lot of spreadsheets and maps.
What is your favorite aspect of working here? What do you like most about your job?
I like working at an institution that does so much great work. I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois, and used ISGS data in a lot of my classes. It’s a great feeling now working at the Survey and helping to contribute to the scientific knowledge the Survey provides the state.
What was your background before coming to PRI?
My undergraduate education was in Geology and Geography here at the University of Illinois, and my graduate degree was in fluvial geomorphology. I had both field and office experience with different types of environmental research in the Midwest, Northeast, Mount Rainier National Park, and Cambodia.
What are common misconceptions about your career? Or What is a question you get asked most frequently about your job?
I would say that most people don’t have misconceptions about my career—they simply have no conceptions at all! Most of my family and friends not in a science or environmental field are really interested when I talk about my job because they really had no idea this type of job existed. It’s fun to inform them about all of the work that goes on at the Prairie Research Institute.
What advice would you give to future female scientists?
That they belong here. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, since women scientists often face obstacles that our male counterparts don’t, but this is our world, too. We need to have a role in helping change it for the better, so don’t feel bad about taking up space. It’s yours to take up.