Kerry Bennett, Local Author and Board Member

In our last blog post, we introduced Girls Just Like You Who Grew Up to Become… Scientists (Flagstaff edition), a new book by local science writer and Festival board member Kerry Bennett.

The book’s introduction talks about the many different places scientists work in Flagstaff, including Lowell Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, W. L. Gore & Associates, and the local National Park Service.

Kerry talked with some of the top women scientists at Northern Arizona University to discover how they achieved their dreams of becoming scientists. In Chapter 1: Meet microbiologist Emily Cope, we learn all about Emily’s journey to becoming an Assistant Professor at NAU’s Pathogen and Microbiome Institute. We find out why she studies the human microbiome and what she’s discovered about the relationship between it and diseases like asthma and Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’m very excited about discoveries like this,” Emily said. “My goal is to figure out how to harness the power of the microbiome to improve human health.”

In Chapter 2: Meet computer scientist Morgan Vigil-Hayes, (click to read) Kerry interviews NAU Assistant Professor Morgan Vigil-Hayes, a computer scientist in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems. We find out how Morgan first became interested in math and science, how she fell in love with computer science, and her advice for girls who want to be scientists.

“I would really like girls to know that it is OK to fail,” Morgan said. “Science is not about being successful or getting things 100% right. It is about caring so much about understanding the world and solving problems that you are willing to keep trying new things, even if they fail!”

We’ll be publishing additional chapters of the book here on the Festival of Science website in coming weeks—including chapters on biochemist Naomi Lee, conservation biologist Clare Aslan, and disease ecologist Bridget Barker.

Kerry said, “I hope that girls who read this will see themselves in roles that involve science and technology across a wide range of fields.”