Science Mentors

Jo Ellen Hinck – Science Mentor : Research fish biologist for US Geological Survey

Jo Ellen Hinck – Science Mentor

Research fish biologist for US Geological Survey

  • My work deals largely with evaluating effects of chemical contaminants on aquatic and terrestrial biota. I currently serve as the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDAR) coordinator for the US Geological Survey. In this role, I serve as a science adviser to case teams working on oil spill and contaminant releases into the environment. Designed studies include injury assessment as well as ecological restoration. I also am studying the effects that uranium mining has to biota in the Grand Canyon Watershed.
  • My work takes me all over the United States. I have had projects in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, Maine, and the desert southwest. The common linkage to the projects are contaminant effects but these differ depending on the geographical setting and species of interest. I also get to work with a variety of people from other Federal agencies, state agencies, tribes, NGOs, and industry.
  • My hobbies include gardening, hiking, and cooking. I love baking unique birthday cakes for my small children. I also enjoying going into my kids school classes to teach science experiments.
  • Exposure to science and math needs to happen early according to researchers. Bill Nye quotes a statistic that this exposure needs to happen in elementary school for the child to really gain an interest in science and math. WISE girls is for older girls but if we can engage more girls to these field now, then exposure could start happening earlier and earlier. And - girls can do science just as well as boys!
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Cynthia D Hollingsworth – Science and Technology Mentor : Coordinator of Instructional Design for Indiana University School of Nursing

Cynthia D Hollingsworth – Science and Technology Mentor

Coordinator of Instructional Design for Indiana University School of Nursing

  • I am the instructional designer for the school of nursing. In that role I support faculty who are teaching web-based courses. I design the courses, develop learning activities and plan learning and assessment strategies. I frequently participate in curriculum planning so get the "big picture" of the curriculum.
  • My job is interesting because I do not have a degree in instructional design. I chose to thoughtfully merge three degrees: AAS in data management, BS in computer information systems design and analysis, and MS in adult education. With this background I can think of education as a system and analyze the components. Every day is different as faculty come to me with questions about software applications or wanting to brainstorm ways of doing thing online that they have done in the classroom in the past. I love that moment when I "see the lightbulb" and they get excited about new possibilities.
  • My hobbies are: photography and flower gardening.
  • I believe that too many girls accept what is told to them about how their paths must be shaped. As a non-traditional student in my undergraduate program, I became assertive in forming my program so that I achieved the results I wanted and needed. I don't think girls are often enough taught that they can know their mind and work toward their goals rather than working within the confines of the box they are given. I believe women and girls are strong and have much to receive and to give whereas we are taught to be acquiescent and bridge builders instead of being able to design the bridges.
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Amy McMillan – Science Mentor : Associate Professor for SUNY Buffalo State

Amy McMillan – Science Mentor

Associate Professor for SUNY Buffalo State

  • I am a conservation biologist with a specialty in population genetics. I work with giant salamanders and have students who have done radio telemetry tracking reintroduced animals, population genetics of these animals, which are very rare, and work on feeding behavior and distribution of these animals in New York State. I also work on birds, including common loons and bald eagles, and am starting some fun projects about evolutionary changes in populations. I teach Genetics, Evolution, Conservation Biology, Population Genetics .
  • I learn something new every single day. I get to work with wonderful people, including my students and collaborators. I love teaching and I love research.
  • I love kayaking, reading, hiking, cross stitch, knitting, and playing with my cats.
  • I love young interest in science! I got some excellent mentorship when I was young and would have appreciated more from women. I want to interest girls and young women in what I do - we can always use more great brains!
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Dr. Eleanora (Norrie) Robbins – Science Mentor : Geologist	for San Diego State University

Dr. Eleanora (Norrie) Robbins – Science Mentor

Geologist for San Diego State University

  • I am an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State (SDSU). Isn't that a funny title? This means I am retired from my work life as a biogeologist with the US Geological Survey in Reston, VA. And since we moved to San Diego, I serve as a mentor for women in our Geology Department at SDSU. I also teach monthly outdoors science programs to kids living on Indian reservations. In exchange, their elders teach me about taking care of the Earth.
  • When I am teaching on reservations, I get to take kids out and get them wet and dirty. That is the beginning of becoming an outdoors scientist. I can't decide which is more interesting: the rattlesnakes, the spiders, the coyotes, the potential mountain lions, or the poison oak.
  • My favorite hobby is politics. As a young woman I learned how to be a focused scientist. But as an older woman, I recognize that human behavior underlies all the interactions with my coworkers, colleagues, as well as everyone else.
  • I had mentors through my entire fabulous career. There are so many decisions to make through a career, and it was so nice for me to be able to run them past other brains to learn how others solved similar problems.
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Jackie Rivera – Science Mentor : Environmental Scientist for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Jackie Rivera – Science Mentor

Environmental Scientist for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • I work aboard the R/V Lake Guardian for both the spring and summer GLNPO Open Lake Water Quality Surveys collecting water quality data in the 5 Great Lakes. When I'm not on the ship, I'm back in the office pulling together Great Lakes reports, mentoring interns, and developing GIS maps for our office.
  • I love being in a job where I can work out in the field collecting actual data and doing field work. Being onboard a 180-foot research vessel for a week at a time is an experience that I wish everyone could get.
  • I like to swim, read, do crafts, and spend time with my 2 little girls.
  • Being in a male-dominated career has made me realize how important is is to have women in STEM careers out there encouraging young women to pursue their dreams. When I first told my family that I wanted to move into the environmental science career, I didn't get much support. My parents believed that there weren't very many job opportunities out there for me. I wish I could have had someone out there to motivate me and to encourage me to follow my dreams. I have 2 young daughters of my own now that I hope I can sway into a STEM career as well.
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Holly Martin – Science and Math Mentor : TASC Instructor	Oneonta Job Corps Academy

Holly Martin – Science and Math Mentor

TASC Instructor Oneonta Job Corps Academy

  • I instruct all the subject areas necessary to pass the High School Diploma Equivalency- TASC (Testing Assessment of Secondary Completion) at Oneonta Job Corps Academy.  This includes Writing Skills, Social Studies, Science, Reading, Math and employment/social skills, as well as Health & Wellness.
  • I work with 17- 24 year olds, mostly African Americans from disadvantaged areas. There is such diversity in so many areas, but a common goal that brings us all together.  The daily hard work that is shown and is manifested into an education completion is extremely rewarding.
  • Some hobbies include writing poetry, playing guitar/piano, singing, photography, cooking, teaching Sunday school, gardening, motorcycling, horse back riding, target shooting, 4 wheeling, scrapbooking & doing Pinterest.
  • I enjoy mentoring young girls, the more they know in advance and the better their support system is, the more successful they will be in life.  I hope to offer young girls empowerment and encouragement.
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Jill Mesonas – Science and Engineering Mentor : Associate Director for Rutgers University-Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Jill Mesonas – Science and Engineering Mentor

Associate Director for Rutgers University-Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

  • I am a BioChemical Engineer, MBA, and am the Associate Director of the Rutgers University Department of Chemical and Chemical Biology.  Rutgers Chemistry attracts more federal funding for research and development than any other in the nation.
  • I get to see amazing research being performed to cure diseases, and get to be a part of making that happen.  It's a wonderful job!
  • I act in plays, recently performed Off-Broadway, enjoy traveling, theater, concerts, and nature.  Being a scientist or engineer doesn't mean that you have to be just one thing.
  • I want to help girls who went through what I did, had questions and didn't have anyone to ask.  I want to make their journey a bit easier.
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Janet Nestlerode – Science Mentor : Research Ecologist	for US EPA - Gulf Ecology Division

Janet Nestlerode – Science Mentor

Research Ecologist for US EPA - Gulf Ecology Division

  • I am a research ecologist in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development at the Gulf Ecology Division.  I work on a variety of projects ranging from research to support the Sustainable and Healthy Communities Program and the National Wetlands Condition Assessment.  We are currently ramping up a project that will use Sediment Profile Imaging (SPI) to examine the impact of nutrient and dissolved oxygen dynamics on the condition and function of benthic habitats in Gulf coast estuaries.
  • I like the variety of projects and the opportunity to apply what I know to address new questions or issues. As a government scientist, my research focus often changes to meet the latest program priorities and needs.  While this can sometimes be challenging because I feel like I am pushed a little out of my “comfort zone”, in the end it is rewarding because I am always learning new things and making a difference in protecting our environment.
  • Since most of my time at the office is spent inside working at my computer or in meetings, I try to get outside as much as possible during my free time. I enjoy spending a weekend afternoon pulling weeds in my garden, swimming at the beach, or going on long walks in my neighborhood with my dog.  I also like to get out and listen to live music any chance I can.
  • There will always be a need for smart people to help environmental science agencies and research institutions address the next environmental problems facing our nation and the world, and girls that are starting their academic careers now are the ones that will be answering those questions!
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