Kerry Bennett, Local Author and Board Member

Earlier this year, 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. Each month, we’ve highlighted one chapter of the book and one Flagstaff scientist.

In Chapter 4, Kerry interviews Northern Arizona University Assistant Professor Archana Varadaraj, a biochemist who studies the molecular biology of cancer tumors, looking for ways to keep tumors from growing in the human body. We learn how Archana was first introduced to science, and how she became intrigued with the complexity of biochemistry, and her advice for girls who want to become scientists.

Archana, who grew up in India, encourages girls to follow their interests. She tells us, “This could be as simple as observing nature, reading science fiction, or maintaining a diary of your questions—or it could be something more organized such as going to science fairs or by reading serious science books.”

"If you are interested in the world around you… take any opportunity you get to grow that interest."

The book’s introduction talks about the many different places scientists work in Flagstaff, and Kerry plans to eventually add more chapters on scientists from local organizations including the Museum of Northern Arizona, Lowell Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, W. L. Gore & Associates, and the local National Park Service. You can find newly released chapters on the “Festival Insights” blog.

Kerry said, “I hope girls who read this book about successful women in science will learn how they can become scientists in many different fields, from computer science to biology to ecology.”

Do you know a Flagstaff girl who wants to be a scientist someday? Take a look at the chapters published so far:

Watch for new chapters of the book on the Festival of Science website in coming weeks—including chapters on conservation biologist Clare Aslan and disease ecologist Bridget Barker.