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 6, we meet Northern Arizona University Associate Professor Clare Aslan, a conservation ecologist. Dr. Aslan is an expert in pollinators—birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and small mammals that pollinate plants so they can grow.

We discover how Clare, who grew up in Prescott, loved being outdoors with her family and learned the importance of protecting the environment from her parents. She found ecology as a way to explore nature and help save threatened species. “My research mostly takes place out of doors, in the field, allowing me to explore amazing places and combine work and adventure.”

Clare encourages girls to pursue science by reading books, watching videos, and talking to scientists about their work.

“A career as a scientist starts with imagination, creativity, and curiosity; you will come up with questions and think of possible answers to them. If you find you are interested in certain topics—whether that’s insects or stars or plants or electricity—don’t hesitate to learn all you can about those topics.”

These days, Clare is working on many different research projects, many of which take her outdoors and out of the lab. “Through my research, I am working to understand how environmental changes affect pollinators and the plants that depend on them. One of the best things about my career, now that I’m in it, is the opportunity to see and experience new things all the time.”

“The world needs more scientists, and the world needs you! We have so many problems that need solving, and we need information in order to find solutions.”

Kerry says, “I selected these scientistsEmily Cope, Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Naomi Lee, Archana Varadaraj, Bridget Barker, and Clare Aslan —from a variety of fields because I think they have important things to say to girls who want to become successful. Each of them has a unique perspective on what it takes and shares helpful advice.”

Do you know any girls in Flagstaff who want to be scientists someday? You can view and download the entire book here!