About the founder- Our story

The city girl who loved nature and science

I grew up in the inner-city adjacent to a major freeway. My neighborhood didn’t have many green spaces except for the few patches of grass and trees along the sidewalks and abandoned lots. I was intrigued by the few green spaces I saw. I viewed them as places of peace and restoration. When I was in sixth grade, my school took us to the Boundary Waters Canoeing Area to learn about ecology and orientation in the woods. It was an experience that was otherworldly to me. I learned to canoe and learned about natural systems from the water microbes to the wolves that prowled the territory. Although frightening at times, I felt an overwhelming sense of wonder and peace away from the stresses of my neighborhood. I wondered why there were no places for me to explore and play with at least tall trees where I lived. 

I developed a love for science, animals and natural landscapes, but I experienced them through pages of books. While in high school, I was given the opportunity to be a part of a science museum program that employed inner-city youth to work in the museum. I was a member of the cell lab crew where I learned how to maintain a microbiology lab and do DNA extractions and gel electrophoresis. The most enjoyable part of the job was designing and presenting outreach experiments to children in community centers. The children enjoyed using a microscope for the first time and they were surprised to see a scientist who looked like them. They told me they wanted to be a scientist when they grew up.  I knew then that I wanted to teach science and nature and inspire children who were like me. I even had a few of the STEM jobs featured on a few of the puzzles!

My Puzzling Occupations project allows me to continue to teach and inspire children to see themselves as scientists on a grander scale.