Women in Paleontology
A bit about Lanie, a world-class preparator and paleontologist at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, in her own words. "I grew up in Wahpeton, ND, and for as long as I can remember I've had an interest in paleontology. It always amazed me that the world was such a different place a long time ago. I got a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the South Dakota School of Mines and technology in 2013. As a student, I volunteered at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD, and with the Forest Service in SD & NE with their Passport in Time program. I also participated in my university and worked at the Museum of Geology. Also as a student, I did a summer internship and summer job at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, WY. After college, I worked as a preparator and museum technician at Badlands National park for four or five years. Now I work at Triebold paleontology Inc., it’ll be three years this month."
Lanie, when asked about some of her greatest paleontology achievements, stated, "
I consider being a well-rounded fossil preparator an achievement. I’ve worked on things as big as an Apatosaurus, and as small as an Icthyornisand. And everything in between. It's nice to know that I can handle whatever we find next."
Lanie's advice to those interested in working in paleontology? "Experience is key. Doing internships and related volunteer projects is a great way to get your foot in the door. The field of paleontology is very rewarding if you are willing to work hard."
After years of battling low self-esteem and a negative mindset, Elaine inadvertently discovered her passion for dinosaurs and paleontology and her life was never the same. Elaine's love for all things dinosaur led her to volunteer with Orlando Science Center and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, where she became certified in lab and field work and has returned year after year. In the process of pursuing her passion, Elaine has made life-long friends and has come to realize we all have the power to enjoy our lives and to make a positive difference in the world. Elaine's experience led her to write the book Passion in the Bones and, most recently, to join filmmakers Tony and James Pinto as executive producer of their upcoming documentary Why Dinosaurs? which celebrates dinosaurs and the people who love them.
Be sure to follow @whydinosaurs for updates about the documentary!
Social Media platform links
What is something that you consider to be one of your greatest achievements in the field?
Elaine considers one of her greatest achievements to be her volunteer work. “Not only has volunteering with the Wyoming Dinosaur Center allowed me to acquire valuable training and hands-on experience in the lab and field, it has also led to friendships with amazing individuals including award-winning paleontologist Dr. Dean Lomax and WDC paleontologists Bill Wahl and Jessica Lippincott, all of whom helped inspire me to write my book. Also, my volunteer work with Orlando Science Center led to my friendship with Dinosaurs Will Always Be Awesome podcast creator Jimmy Waldron who continues to be so supportive of my paleontological pursuits.”
What is something that you want to share with those interested in working in the field?
“If you’re going to pursue paleontology as a career, make sure to never lose your child-like enthusiasm for it. Even when your job is also your passion, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses of life that can sometimes take the fun out of it. When such challenges come your way, remember to step back and take time to channel your inner ‘child’ who fell in love with paleontology in the first place. That genuine excitement will create positive energy that can keep you moving forward in a positive direction even when your circumstances are weighing you down.”
Lindsey considers one of her largest achievements to be "putting myself out there and making so many connections in the field in the last year. I’m proud of myself for having the confidence that I can be a great paleontology educator, especially given the fact that I’m still an undergrad. Some of the connections I’ve made and opportunities I’ve had are things that many people don’t have until graduate school or later, and I’m humbled by that fact."
For those interested in working in paleontology Lindsey's advice is, "It sounds cliché, but don’t give up on your dreams. I almost gave up only a year and a half ago, but then I realized I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else and that this is what I’m meant to do. Paleontology is rarely easy, but the joy it can bring you is unparalleled. Put yourself out there and make connections by sending emails or a DM, and take advantage of any volunteer opportunity that you can!"
Social Media platform links
@paleolindsey on Instagram
@paleolinds on Twitter
@lindseyrosedavis on TikTok
When asked about some of her greatest paleontology achievements she replied, "I’ve had the opportunity to work on world-class mounts that are displayed all over the world and bring joy to many people globally. I’ve also had the chance to pioneer new technologies and integrate them into the paleo world."
Evan's advice to those considering working in paleontology, "You will always get dirty, scraped, bumped, cut, bruised and there will be days when both your body and brain are exhausted by the work you’re doing, but it is totally worth it."
Thank you Evan for all you do!!!
We asked Holly what her biggest achievement to date is. She answered, "Definitely my biggest achievement is being able to have the position I do at my age, and also being surrounded by incredible mentors that encourage my passion."
We also asked her for advice to aspiring paleontologists. Her answer? "My advice for people who are interested in working in the field is to take every opportunity that is thrown at you and soak up all the resources you can get and run with it."
Holly is an absolutely amazing individual! Follow her at:
Meet Myria Perez!
Myria is a paleontologist and fossil preparator out of Dallas, Texas. She is also an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador. Myria began her paleontology path by volunteering at the Houston Museum of Natural Science when she was 12. It was there she learned from the museum curators how to excavate and prepare fossils, as well as how to share scientific knowledge with visitors. Myria went on to attend Southern Methodist University (SMU), where she worked in the fossil lab between classes in for Geology and Anthropology degrees. The fossils she worked on are now on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) exhibit called Sea Monsters Unearthed: Life in Angola's Ancient Seas.
During college she conducted research at the NMNH on the taphonomy of England's ichthyosaurs (including some found by MaryAnning). Her SMU senior thesis was written on Eunotosaurus. Today, she cleans fossils from Pachyrhinosaurus specimens from Northern Alaska while inspiring young girls (really anyone) in STEM.
Fossil Crates asked Myria what is one of her greatest achievements in the field of paleontology? “My biggest achievement was/is being brave to ask questions. If I wasn't brave enough, I wouldn't have asked the curators at the Houston Museum if I could volunteer. If I wasn't brave enough to ask, I wouldn't have been able to find out I could work with Dr. Louis Jacobs at SMU in the fossil labs on campus and be a part of building an exhibit in D.C.!"
Fossil Crates also asked what advice she would give to those interested in working in the field of paleontology: "Find a mentor. A good mentor will push you to your potential and share with you opportunities you'd never dream of. Paleontology is also a small field and it is important to network and learn from others, and who's better to learn from than your own mentor?"
Follow Myria via the links below:
Tumble Podcast: https://www.sciencepodcastforkids.com/
Meet Emily Keeble: Digital paleontology expert. Currently Emily makes models of Triassic archosaurs for biomechanical modelling as part of the DawnDinos project. Her childhood dream of working at the London Natural History Museum came true with her work on the Digitising Darwin project where she got to work on specimens collected by Charles Darwin himself on the voyage of the Beagle! Emily also is a contributing writer for PBS Eons and the popular DK books.
Emily’s advice to aspiring paleontologists: Something that took me a long time to learn is that to succeed in palaeontology, you really have to put yourself out there, and keep putting yourself out there. Reach out to people about collaboration or mentorship; ask for help when you need it and make friends! It's scary, but very worth it.