Women Blaze Trails
Women Blaze Trails
February 12th – 16th
In Partnership With
February is always an exciting month for Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants. With February 11th being the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we kick all of the men out for the month and host incredible women in science, exploration, conservation and engineering from across the globe.
This year, we’re excited to team up with Lyda Hill Philanthropies and their amazing IF/THEN initiative, to showcase some of their incredible female STEM ambassadors! The week of February 12th, we’ll meet women representing a variety of fields from across the STEM spectrum, to learn about their work, hear their stories and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
IF/THEN ® is part of Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ commitment to fund game-changing advancements in science and nature. IF/THEN ® seeks to further advance women in STEM by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. Rooted in a firm belief that there is no better time to highlight positive and successful female professional role models, IF/THEN ® is designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers by: (1) funding and elevating women in STEM as role models, (2) convening cross-sector partners in entertainment, fashion, sports, business and academia to illuminate the importance of STEM everywhere, and (3) inspiring girls with better portrayals of women in STEM through media and learning experiences to pique their interest in STEM careers.
To learn more, visit www.ifthenshecan.org
Monday | February 12th
Unlocking the Past – Archaeology Exploration with Becca Peixotto
February 12th @ 10:00am eastern
Becca is an archaeologist who uses her love for science and history to help uncover stories of people in the past in hard to reach places. She has crawled and climbed deep into a cave in South Africa to excavate fossils of a new-to-science ancient human relative, and hiked and waded far into a swamp in Virginia in the US to learn more about enslaved people who sought freedom there 250 years ago. Join in to explore why looking in places that seem unlikely can help us learn more about our shared human history and how that history can help us in our present and future.
Fired Up for Science with Dr Jenny Briggs
February 12th @ 12:00pm eastern
Dr. Jenny Briggs is a biologist who’s spent many years investigating burning questions about fire, wildlife and habitats! For her work she’s done firefighter training, hiked for hundreds of miles, drove big trucks on dirt roads, studied beetles that kill just as many trees as wildfires do, and sometimes even roasted marshmallows during prescribed burns. Quite a change from England where she grew up! In this talk, explore the science of mountain forests and some of the threats they face from fire to insects!
Spectacular Snakes with Sam Wynns
February 12th @ 1:00pm eastern
Join Biologist Sam Wynns as she showcases her amazing job as a biologist and educator live in San Diego at the Cabrillo National Monument, with a live snake ambassador to reveal just how wonderful these misunderstood creatures are! Learn about how you can help snakes too and little more about what science educators get to do in sharing the magic and wonder of STEM!
Tuesday | February 13th
Do You Know What’s Inside Your Brain? Neuroscientists Do! Come Find Out with Dr. Tay
February 13th @ 11:00am eastern
Dr. Lataisia Jones is a dedicated neuroscientist and STEM advocate, known for her groundbreaking work and commitment to diversity in STEM careers. Her passion for understanding neurological disorders, especially in children, led her to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., where she researched Autism Spectrum Disorders. Beyond her research, Dr. Jones, an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, inspires young girls, especially those of color, to pursue STEM careers through various media appearances. Leaving the lab in 2020, she focuses on her STEM initiatives, impacting thousands of youth and aspiring neuroscientists annually. Learn more about her work at heydrtay.com and on social media platforms (@heydrtay).
Coding to Save the World with Gracie Ermi
February 13th @ 12:00pm eastern
Gracie Ermi is a computer scientist at Impact Observatory, where she builds machine learning technology to better understand how the planet is changing in the face of climate change. Her work is all about quickly synthesizing huge amounts of satellite images to empower decision-makers with timely, science-based insights about the ecosystems they are working to protect. Her career has centered around using technology to better protect the planet, and previously she worked on technology to support wildlife research – with projects related to killer whales, elephants, dolphins, and more! Gracie hopes that her work can inspire others to pursue computer science as a way to create change in their communities and around the world.
Exploring the Deep with Dr. Katy Croff Bell
February 13th @ 2:00pm eastern
Dr. Katy Croff Bell is the Founder and President of the Ocean Discovery League and a National Geographic Explorer. She is on a mission to break down the barriers to the deep sea by combining low-cost technologies, AI-driven data analysis, and capacity building to make access to the deep sea more efficient and accessible to all, especially those historically excluded in the field. Her background in ocean engineering, maritime archaeology, and geological oceanography, and leadership of dozens of expeditions around the world uniquely position her to create efficient, equitable systems to broaden access to the deep sea.
Wednesday | February 14th
Fighting Infectious Diseases with Biomedical Science with Dr. Jessica Taaffe
February 14th @ 11:00am eastern
Dr. Jessica Taaffe, is a biomedical scientist fighting infectious diseases around the globe. She’s not just a lab expert; she’s also a science communicator and international consultant, sharing her knowledge worldwide. Join her talk to discover how biomedical science and its scientists are heroes in global health helping us find solutions to make us healthier, and how her career has had no boundaries!
Microbiology and the World of Science Communication with Dr. Megan Prescott
February 14th @ 12:00pm eastern
Dr. Megan Prescott is an expert in the world of the very small things that dominate our world – bacteria! In this talk she’ll explore some of the diversity, and danger, that microorganisms pose to us as well as diving in on her diverse and unorthodox route into science and sharing the world of STEM with wide audiences as a prominent science communicator!
The Neuroscience of Love – A Valentine’s Day Special with Dr. Crystal Dilworth
February 14th @ 1:00pm eastern
Neuroscientist, dancer, and international science communicator Dr. Crystal Dilworth has spent almost a decade bringing the stories of science to audiences around the world. Whether through public talks or digital and traditional media, the host of VOA-Tek on Voice of America is passionate about highlighting the human impact of science and technology. In this first off program, we’ll dive in on the neuroscience of love!
Thursday | February 15th
Pushing the Bounds of Science and Exploration with Adele Luta
February 15th @ 12:00pm eastern
Adele Luta is a scientist and innovator. She has worked at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Flight Center as a certified Mission Control Center flight controller and astronaut instructor where she supported over 90 spacewalks. As the xEVA (Exploration Spacewalks) Integration Project Manager at Oceaneering International Inc, she is part of the team to develop a lunar lander under NASA’s Artemis Program. Her training as a physicist has allowed her to work in many fields including researching the mind, nuclear physics, and team cognition. She is a private pilot and SCUBA diver. In this talk, she will share some of the scientific challenges to space “walking” on the moon while interweaving fun stories from her career.
Storytelling for Science with Jenny Adler
February 15th @ 1:00pm eastern
Jennifer Adler is a conservation photographer and underwater photojournalist. Her work is informed by her scientific background, and she uses her imagery to communicate science and conservation. She has a degree in marine biology from Brown University and a PhD in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida. She specializes in underwater photography and is a trained freediver and cave diver. An ongoing theme in her work is the connection between people and water in a changing climate. Her grant-funded and assignment work has taken her all over the world to document science and conservation for The Nature Conservancy, National Geographic, Huffington Post, Vox, and the International Women’s Media Foundation. Jenny is a freelance photojournalist represented by National Geographic Image Collection.
From Fear to Fascination, Discovering Bugs with Dr. Ronda Hamm
February 15th @ 2:00pm eastern
Insects and arachnids can provoke a lot of negative reactions in people who might judge them by appearance alone – bugs can seem scary! Dr. Ronda Hamm has made a career out of understanding these incredible creatures and helping other people learn to love them as much as she does. Join this program to get to know some of the amazing creatures of the undergrowth and see if you can turn fear to fascination as well!
Friday | February 16th
Understanding and Healing Forests with Dr. Lindsey Rustad
February 16th @ 10:00am eastern
Lindsey can usually be found deep in the forests of New England — whether she’s hiking, kayaking, fly fishing, or patiently studying how these majestic ecosystems work. As a forest scientist, she has spent over three decades conducting research to understand what makes forests tick. Her laboratory is the outdoors, and she is internationally recognized for her large and often daring experiments on forest soil warming, drought, acid rain, and even ice storms. Her passion is bringing together scientists, artists, and citizens to address some of the most vexing issues facing the world today. She’s also the only person we’ll ever feature who has made her own ice storms!
Pika Power! The World’s Cutest Mammal with Dr. Jo Varner
February 16th @ 11:00am eastern
Johanna “Pika Jo” Varner is a pika biologist who lives in Colorado. During the academic year, she teaches biology at Colorado Mesa University, but during the summer, she spends a lot of time in the mountains looking for pikas, placing temperature sensors, and collecting scat samples to analyze for stress. Before she was a pika biologist, Dr. Varner was a biomedical engineer, a baker, and a blueberry farmer. But she likes studying pikas best because they are so cute and they live in beautiful places.
Bat Discovery and Conservation with Dr. Kristen Lear
February 16th @ 12:30pm eastern
Kristen Lear is a bat conservationist and environmental educator. She got her start in bat conservation at age 12, when she built and installed bat houses for her Girl Scout Silver Award project. Since then, she has traveled the world, including the US, Australia, and Mexico, to learn how to protect endangered bats and to share her passion with the public. In this session, Kristen will provide a glimpse into the world of bats, sharing some specialized research equipment and providing hands-on tips for how students can build their own bat houses and contribute to bat conservation in their own backyards.
What Do You Get to Do as a Science Communicator? with Dr. Nicole Sharp
February 16th @ 2:00pm eastern
Science communicator Nicole Sharp is an expert at making science interesting and understandable. Fourteen years ago as an aerospace engineering PhD student at Texas A&M University, she established the FYFD blog to celebrate fluid dynamics – the physics of everything that flows. Since then, she’s built an audience of more than 350,000 readers and had her work featured by The New York Times, The Guardian, Science, Wired, and others. As a science communicator, her work is wide-ranging. On any given day, she might be spilling molasses to explore a 100-year-old industrial accident, filming barefoot on sand dunes while hang-glider pilots fly a replica of a 120-year-old aircraft, or teasing out the properties of fountain pen ink.