Time to meet Ashley Gary (She/her)! Ashley is a nature-loving science communicator in the field of wildlife biology in the USA!
What kind of scientist are you?
I’m a science communicator. I got interested in this field after taking an environmental communication course during my graduate studies. I started my #scicomm experience on Instagram by sharing a new wildlife species everyday. Since then I’ve expanded onto Twitter, done a series of podcast and video interviews and am preparing to launch environmental workshops and events.
What made you want to become a scientist?
I always loved science. I’ve been fascinated with nature and wildlife for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been the type to ask a million questions and science always allowed me to use that “talent” to figure out the world around me.
“I’ve been fascinated with nature and wildlife for as long as I can remember.”Ashley Gary
What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I am a #UniqueScientist because not only am I a woman of color, I also haven’t taken a traditional route to being in the sciences. My undergraduate degree is in Art History and while I have finished my coursework in a master’s program, I haven’t finished my project to confer my degree. I don’t let this stop me though because science isn’t just for academia or the elite, it’s here for everyone. I could never find a job in the sciences doing what I liked, so I just started doing it on my own to bring me joy and touch other people’s lives through conversation.
What’s something cool you do outside of work?
This is actually what I do outside of work! My day job is at a well known non-profit organization in another field. This is how I get my science fix because it’s truly my passion. Finding ways to connect with folks about the natural world is kind of my obsession. 🙂
If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I would take away the notion that only some people can do science. Science is a part of every single thing we do in this existence. It should be that everyone has a firm understanding of the workings of the various scientific systems of the world. A solid understanding of science helps people to make informed decisions for themselves, their loved ones and those around them.
“A solid understanding of science helps people to make informed decisions for themselves, their loved ones and those around them.”Ashley Gary
Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
Honestly, I was inspired the most by Sir David Attenborough. Just seeing him going around the world, seeing these species and sharing them through television series made it feel like this could be something that I can do too. I felt so much wonder watching documentaries like The Life of Birds and Blue Planet and I want to do the same thing for others. They may not want to go into the sciences after hearing my message, but if they grow an appreciation for the earth, then I feel like I’ve done my job. He has some big footsteps to fill, but I think I can take my inspiration and do great things with it.
Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I am very proud to have been making concrete steps towards my first product offering, a limited edition Northern Cardinal enamel pin. It’s not easy doing all this work for free, so this is my attempt at finding a way to fund what I love most: talking to people about wildlife and nature!