The month of March is coming to a close (already!) without a peep on this network.  How have you been celebrating this month? Have you nominated a deserving woman for an award

Back in February, I was among the women asked to participate in a new blog celebrating the women in science (WIS) associated with the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute and today my story came out on Twitter, Facebook, and the WIS blog. It's based on six questions, and we were asked to submit photos. I thought this exercise would also make good conversation starter for this group:

  1. How old were you when you first became interested in science? What sparked your interest?
  2. What is your field of study and what made you decide to pursue that field?
  3. Who has been a mentor to you in your science career?
  4. What is the focus of your research?
  5. What is the best part of your job, and what work are you most proud of?
  6. What advice would you give to other female scientists?

Pick one or all of these and share, or craft your own question and answer it. We often think we're alone in our paths, our thoughts, and it's good to find other kindred spirits.



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  • Hi Gail,

    My first encounter with insects was in my backyard with Japanese beetles and fireflies. I remember finding them and collecting them and thinking how wonderful they both were! I went off to 4-H camp and took an Entomology class and made my first real collection in a cigar box and continued to be hooked on science ever since.

    My field of study is both chemical ecology and parasite-host interactions.  I am interested in the complex interactions between the evolution of an organism's communication system, its predators, parasites or parasitoids, and its environment.  

    I think it is my insatiable curiosity and my love of nature that has made me decide to pursue a career in science.

    The best part of the job is being out in nature and conducting an experiment that finally answers a question that you have been trying to find the answer to!  Sometimes one is lucky to make an observation that leads one to many other very interesting questions as well and that is very exciting.

    I am most proud of the work I have done in collaboration with chemical ecologist Dr. Jocelyn Millar who has really been a mentor to me. Together we uncovered the allomone of Meloe franciscanus triungulins which cooperatively mimic the sex pheromone of the host female solitary bee to trick the male into pseudocopulating with a triungulin aggregation to gain transport to a bee's nest.

    I am also proud of playing a role in the conservation of biodiversity through my non-profit work with SaveNature.Org and the mentoring of students from K through college.

    My advice to female scientists is to be persistent, stay curious, and help other women.

    All the best always,


    L. Saul-Gershenz

    University of California, Davis

    Associate Director, Wild Energy Initiative

    John Muir Institute of the Environment

    One Shields Avenue

    Davis, CA 95616

    Save Nature - home
    International conservation organization dedicated to preserving species and ecosystems through education and through purchase of threatened rainfores…
    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and adventures! Although this thread was started in honor of last year's celebration of Women's History Month, I think it is an ongoing discussion we should be having and hope that others will contribute.

      When I wrote it in 2017, I didn't have a link for my own answers, but do now

      Hope to see you in Vancouver! Don't forget to sign up at registration for the Women in Entomology Breakfast--new signup procedure this year.



      Gail Kampmeier: Entomologist
      After taking a winding path into science, entomologist Gail Kampmeier went on to have a long career in biodiversity informatics and plant virus epide…
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