Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
When I was a kid, I loved being outside, exploring my yard, picking apart flowers and watching bugs.
I took every science and math class I could in high school, and I read lots of nature books.
When I was in college, I tried out lots of things, but came back to biology.
In college, I was able to try out field research, work in a museum, and be a teaching assistant.
After college, I taught high school for a little while, getting my feet wet with full-time teaching.
Then I spent a year teaching English to migrant workers and running a youth hostel.
After that, I was ready to go back to school and start graduate work.
After finishing my doctorate, I got the job I have now, teaching college biology.

Career

Biology professor

I teach biology classes, and I study pollination and plant ecology.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Science
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

My favorite days are when I can take my students outside. Maybe we would wade in the river and catch microinvertebrates, or maybe we would hike in the woods and identify wildflowers. Or maybe we would stay in and explore the world under a microscope, or in the greenhouse. I love teaching biology because there is so much hands-on stuff you can do. A great day at work would also involve reading and learning new things, and sharing ideas with my colleagues.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for middle school students

Pay attention to what you're learning in school: mathematics, writing, oral presentation skills, all are as important as the science. Dive in with gusto to any science fair projects, and find a unique project that you find fascinating. Talk to as many biologists as you can, and see if you can get them to take you with them when they do their research, so you can see what it's like. Read a lot. And get outside and explore the natural world as much as you can.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Parents:

"You can be whatever you want to be, but don't be a teacher. Teachers aren't respected or paid well for the important work they do."

Interviewed By

Anonymous Student