Time to Meet the Scientist!
Maria Wang recently earned her Masters Degree from Northwestern University. She is currently an intern with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Here, she tells us about SCBI’s “Meet the Scientist” speaker series.
“Meet The Scientist (or ‘Meet The Conservationist’) was started by Dr. Bill McShea in 2014 to help Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) interns learn more about the different careers of SCBI staff and how they came to be in those positions.
Our speakers include conservation biologists, wildlife ecologists, reproductive physiologists, veterinarians, and educators – each with different specialties pertinent to conservation biology (e.g. climate change, nutrition, entomology, cheetahs, etc.). They share what they did as an undergraduate, their experience going through graduate school (or not), their process of becoming a professional, and what they are doing now. Often, the talk is followed by an informal Q&A session. The talks are meant for interns but are open to anyone on campus, and we often have graduate students and post-doctoral researchers attend.
Interns enjoy learning about the speaker’s lives, and will often stick around to talk to speakers one-on-one after the talk. Speakers also enjoy meeting interns and sharing career or graduate school advice. The meeting happens every 2 weeks and it takes a year to go through all the SCBI conservation staff. The turnover in interns means the interns do not hear the same person twice and the staff are always telling their story to a fresh audience. Each intern usually only sees the slice of SCBI where they work- Meet the Scientist allows them to see the breadth of what happens at SCBI and the human story behind the staff. It is one of the highlights of my time at the Smithsonian.
*Meet The Scientist runs every other Thursday at 4pm at the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab at SCBI, Front Royal, Virginia.”