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ForestGEO Celebrates International Women & Girls in Science Day 2022

We are grateful to Ivana Vašíčková, Helen Andrew, Luisa Fernanda Gomez Correa, Paola Andrea Jaramillo Mejia, and Pulchérie Bissiengou for participating in our Q&A series in celebration of International Women & Girls in Science Day

On top: Ivana Vašíčková of the Zofin, Czech Republic FDP.  On right, a photo of Ivana in the woods with bare tree trunks behind her and leaf litter on the ground.  On the right, three questions and answers: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SCIENCE?  “Freedom to ask any research question you can imagine, surprising findings that you never expect, and, finally, opportunity to spend some hours inside the wilderness.”  WHAT  IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR RESEARCH?  “Dendroecology: disturbance dynamics of primeval forests revealed by tree-ring analysis.”  WHEN WAS THE FIRST MOMENT THAT YOU IDENTIFIED AS A SCIENTIST?  “Right now. Thank you.”

On top: Helen Andrew of Ngel Nyaki, Nigeria FDP.  On left, photo of Helen in the forest with lianas and leaf litter in the background.  On the right, “What do you love about science?” followed by “What I love about science is that it deals with fact finding and so can be applied to solve many of life’s problems.” Below this quote, an informational note: “Helen Andrew joined the ForestGEO team in 2015 during the 1st census of the Ngel Nyaki FDP. She is currently part of the team conducting the 2nd census & is the only woman on the team. Working in the Ngel Nyaki FDP & with the Nigerian Montane Forest Project has developed Helen’s interests in botany & ecology.  She is planning to pursue a Bachelor’s degree this year in botany.”

On top: Luisa Fernanda Gomez Correa of Amacayacu, Colombia FDP.  On right, photograph of Luisa in dense forest and holding a large seed bract.  On left, “What is the focus of your research?” followed by: “My research focuses on the influence of tree crown exposure to light on canopy tree mortality in the Amacayacu Forest Dynamics Plot (AFDP) in northwestern Amazonia. I am also integrating tree growth rate, tree size, and the species wood specific gravity as tree- and species-level factors that influence this process which is still poorly predicted across tropical forests. I am also the current field coordinator of the third full census in the AFDP which is expected to be completed this semester.”

At top: Paola Andrea Jaramillo Mejia of the Amacayacu, Colombia FDP.  On left, photo of Paola Andrea Jaramillo Mejia in front of a body of water and tree canopy.  One right, “What do you love about science?”  followed by: “Science started to spin around my mind with mathematics, I loved how the numbers and equations laps in my thought. Physics, calculus and algebra were my favorite courses, thinking about how to resolve an equation could leave me without sleep. Later, biology turned into my new passion, I fell in love with being with animals and plants, and I can’t imagine my life without trying to explain and understand the world around me. I love science, precisely ecology, because it wraps my mind in ideas about how I perceive life, figuring out numbers to try to explain systems. I love science because it's the only job you do if and only if you really love it.”

At top: Pulchérie Bissiengou of the Rabi, Gabon FDP.  On left, photo of Pulchérie Bissiengou.  On right, three questions and answers: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SCIENCE? “What I like about science is the search for data, compilation of that data, use of research tools such as software, and the obvious support that is part of the expected results of research.”  WHAT  IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR RESEARCH?  “My research is focused on the systematics of the genus Campylospermum.” WHEN WAS THE FIRST MOMENT THAT YOU IDENTIFIED AS A SCIENTIST?  “The first time I identified myself as a scientist was at a university class. This course was practical and was called the BIOTRAVERSE. It consisted of walking through some of the country's ecosystems to identify the different types of habitats and vegetation. I enjoyed it and at that moment I became passionate about plants.”