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Empowering Women in STEM related fields

Posted on Feb 24, 2014

On February 14 I got the opportunity to be a speaker at Jamestown Community College’s “Empowering Women: New Careers, New Frontiers” event. The event was geared towards encouraging young women to explore careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, and roughly 200 high school girls from area schools came to participate in the event. A number of local women representing several STEM related careers presented through panel discussions or breakout sessions and gave the opportunity for the girls to hear a little bit about each unique career path and related work.

As a breakout session speaker, I got the opportunity to share my story with each group of girls that came into my room and tried to encourage them to explore the environment and all the broad and specific fields of study within it. There is a lot to learn about the species here and elsewhere, and the environmental field certainly has a place and need for more great women to get involved. Through working hard in school, taking up every opportunity I could to gain more experience through internships or school projects, and not being afraid to put myself out there and network with others in the field, I was able to gain a position doing everything I love to do and make a positive impact on our regional environment. My hope is that many more young women do the same, and hope I can be an example of someone who pursued their passion and has begun a successful career by doing so. Many of the girls I had the opportunity to connect with may become great biologists, ecologists, ornithologists, etc. someday and it is incredible to think that some of the things I said may have encouraged them in such a way. The event was a good reminder that as professionals in this field, we can have a huge impact on not only our environment but the people that are a part of it too. Through the upcoming seasons we have many conservation projects that will be carried out to further our understanding of several important species that inhabit the area, but through those projects we will take advantage of every opportunity to share our knowledge with others in hopes that that may spur a passion for the environment in them as well and maybe even inspire them to get more involved in this field of work.

Stay tuned to learn more about our upcoming projects and educational outreaches. We can’t wait to share more of our knowledge with others as well as the new interesting things we learn ourselves through our work.


Elyse Henshaw
Conservation Technician