February 11th marks this celebratory day of Women & Girls in Science! Despite being naturally science-minded (typically getting better marks in biology & medical related studies than men), women still don’t venture as much into the science fields. Women comprise only 28% of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries!

Today we celebrate women & girls who pursue the science fields passionately, but everyday we encourage women and girls to engage with their natural scientific curiosity!

The Art of Ecology brings scientific education to people regardless of gender identity. As an educator, I am always amazed and excited by the number of women that explore the fields of environmental and biological sciences through my programs! Over 75% of my programs are attended by women, and while teaching children, I have heard young girls say things like, “Wow! If this is what scientists do, then I want to do it too!” It is my goal to empower students, regardless of age, to let their scientific curiosity shine.

The Women & Girls Behind The Art of Ecology

Marissa Jacobs: Founder, Lead Educator, and Artist
What Inspired You to Pursue Science?
me restraining lungfish in kenya
Marissa is taught how to restrain a Lung Fish in a village on Lake Victoria, Kenya

Growing up in the rural Pocono Mountains, there wasn’t much to do except to play outside! I’d search for toads and salamanders in the ephemeral creeks. I spent time foraging for wild-edibles, pretending that I was a lost Medieval adventurer (I read a lot of Redwall, Lord of the Rings, and other fantasy books) who survived in the wilderness. The more I learned about the scientific world, the more I could see God’s hand at work in His intricately connected creation (which as a Christian, I think is pretty neat!). In elementary through high school, I participated in the PA Envirothon, an eco-industry based competition, and the science fairs. In high school, I studied Chemistry, Biology, and Marine Biology so that I could further my dream of being a veterinary surgeon.

What did you study in college/university?

Originally, I attended Delaware Valley College (now University) for Pre-Veterinary Medicine, to be an exotic wildlife veterinarian in Kenya to work with giraffes, or on a coast working with marine species. Life had other plants and I had to re-evaluate my career path. My personality and goals were better suited for environmental education and teaching as many people as possible about wildlife conservation. I wound up with a B.S. in Wildlife Management & Conservation with a focus in Digital Art & Education. I am finishing a Herbalism certificate and am starting a Masters Degree in Environmental Education.

Do you have any advice for future scientists?

Don’t feel boxed in to one topic or facet of the scientific world! There are so many ways to blend your passions and strengths with science. I thought I wanted to help protect the animals that I love, and I still do! Now I blend my passion for art and love of conservation to protect animals in a different way than a veterinarian does.

Do you love fashion design and physics? Look into how fashion designers impact astronaut safety as they create sturdy space suits!

Do you love textiles and chemistry? Explore how various components of animal or plant fibers of textiles interact with plant phytochemicals in botanical dyes!

Do you love social activism and environmental science? Discover what it takes to pursue a path of social justice and how it correlates with climate change!

Don’t feel like you have to choose between science and something else. You can mix & match!

Lucy McGinty: 2022 Winter-Spring Ecology Education Intern
What Inspired You to Pursue Science?

Ever since I was a young girl, biology has been my favorite subject. I was homeschooled, so I was able to focus more on the things that interested me. This allowed me to do a lot of science experiments with my mom growing up.

What did you study in college/university?

I am an environmental studies student, and once I transfer to another college I
will major in microbiology with a minor in environmental science. It amazes me that there is such an abundance of life all around us that we can’t see. Each time I get to look through a microscope, I get so excited and can feel my curiosity for microorganisms growing!

The whole world of science is so incredibly fascinating to me. If I had more time and money, I would love to take classes in all of the different science subjects—especially physics and astronomy.

The number of accomplishments female scientists have made is another reason why I am so drawn to working in STEM; Rachel Carson discovering the dangers of DDT, Marie Curie being the first woman to win a Nobel prize for doing extensive research on radiation, and Jane Goodall being the best primate scientist in the world is why I feel so hopeful for my future career in biology.

Do You Have Advice for Future Scientists?

If you are interested in getting more involved in science, the Philadelphia Education Fund has a wonderful STEM outreach guide for the Philadelphia area with numerous resources.

Supporting The Art of Ecology through the online shop or by becoming a Patron at any tier on Patreon can help keep educational content coming!

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