STEMinism Sunday: Amanda Roe

July 14, 2019

Amanda Roe in the field

Just hanging out in the forest, looking for some bugs.

Welcome to STEMinism Sunday! As a former woman in science, I have a deep and enduring interest in the experiences and representation of women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). This series will be an opportunity for me – and you – to get to know some of these intellectual badasses.

Today I’d like you to meet Dr. Amanda Roe, of the Great Lakes Forestry Centre (Natural Resources Canada). I wanted to feature Roe because she’s not only a dedicated scientist, she’s also a talented visual artist, meaning her work represents STEM but also STEAM – science, technology, engineering, ARTS, and math. Kind of like me, but with more pictures. 😀

I also wanted to feature Roe because I know her personally – we first met as graduate students at the University of Alberta – and so I can tell you for a fact that she’s kind of a badass. She hikes and paddles and gets her hands (and other bits) dirty for the sake of her research. She knows about ecology and genetics and evolution and how those things intersect in the real world, and how they impact natural resources, like Canadian forests. But most of all, she knows about bugs. Ticks, caterpillars, butterflies, spiders, pine beetles, Roe is all about the creepy crawlies.

sketch of redwood trees by Amanda Roe

One of Amanda’s beautiful nature sketches

You know those forest tent caterpillars – the ones that swarm over trees in giant hordes, making some of us afraid to walk down the street for fear of wriggly things falling into our hair? Roe thinks they rock, as this interview from 2018 demonstrates:

Amanda Roe quote about diversity in science

Roe and I might not see eye-to-eye on the subject of bugs, but there are some things we definitely agree on…. like the fact that science as a discipline is stronger when it’s composed of diverse scientists with a range of perspectives and ideas.

Want to know more about this awesome woman in science? Follow her on Twitter! Even better, check out some of her research on Google Scholar.


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