Let’s all say hello to Dr. Chelsie Romulo (She/her)! Dr. Romulo is an assistant professor in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program at University of Northern Colorado in the USA!
What kind of scientist are you?
My background is in ecology, but I’ve moved much more into merging social and natural sciences for developing sustainable solutions. I study how people use natural resources, and specifically ways that we can manage resources sustainably.
What made you want to become a scientist?
As a child my favorite activities consisted of mucking about in creek beds, and overturning rocks and logs, and then bringing home critters that I had found. They would then be placed in tanks all over the house, as well as my mother’s potted plants and eventually released where they had been found. Over the years I watched with fascination as many tadpoles and caterpillars transformed into frogs and butterflies. My mother has always been an avid gardener and encouraged us to dig in the dirt and admire living things with her. I’ve always been fascinated with nature and watching things grow and spending as much time outside as possible. Though I’ve never wanted to do anything else except be a scientist, I was surprised at the diversity of options within the field of life sciences. I never would have guessed that I would be studying how cities use water or the economics of an Amazonian fruit but I love being where I am today.
“I’m a young filipina woman, first generation US, and a college student. I come from a low socioeconomic background and have often had a hard time feeling like I fit in with my peers in academia.”Dr. Chelsie Romulo
What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I’m a young filipina woman, first generation US, and a college student. I come from a low socioeconomic background and have often had a hard time feeling like I fit in with my peers in academia. I also go through bouts of non-conventional hair styles and have been collecting piercings and tattoos for a number of years (though most I keep covered up).
What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I really like outdoor sports like softball and working out. There are some really crazy stereotypes about what it means to be a scientist, or a nerd, or a computer modeler that seem to assume people with those interests aren’t (or can’t) also be interested in physical activities. At the same time, I love wearing dresses and makeup!
If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I wish everyone would better understand that science is a process rather than just piles of facts. We try our best as scientists to interpret the outcomes of those processes so we can explain how the world works. We are continually adding to what we know and building on our existing knowledge, but we are not all-knowing and just because something might change with new information does not mean that science is untrustworthy, that is actually science in action!
“I wish everyone would better understand that science is a process rather than just piles of facts.”Dr. Chelsie Romulo
Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
So I recently did a podcast about “Finding your roots in STEM Careers” and was asked this same question. In the podcast I talked about Ellie Sattler from Jurassic Park. That was the first movie I ever saw with a strong female scientist lead and it really impacted my vision for future self. This highlights how important it is to have representation in STEM!
Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I love gardening and put in a large garden bed, complete with rebar! I’m planting a blackberry bush in it.
#WomenInSTEM, #BrownInSTEM, #WoCinSTEM