Unique Scientist: Amanda Hyman

Time to meet Amanda Hyman (She/her)! Amanda is an interdisciplinary scientist at the junction of economics, conservation, and international development at University of Tennessee – Knoxville in the USA!

What kind of scientist are you?
Currently, I call myself an interdisciplinary scientist at the junction of economics, conservation, and international development. I study how we can optimize the use of limited budgets within conservation and how to ensure sustainable social-ecological systems.

What made you want to become a scientist?
At first, I became a scientist because I like being outside. Soon I realized, I wanted to ensure other generations had somewhere to wander – I wanted my work to have a purpose. Lastly, I love the challenge of science, of perpetually solving problems only to discover more questions.

“I wanted to ensure other generations had somewhere to wander – I wanted my work to have a purpose.”

Amanda Hyman

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I am a first-generation, low-income, queer cis-female.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I am an avid rock climber! The feelings and views from the top of a climb cannot be matched!

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
One wish, that is tough because I have so many. I wish future generations don’t have to struggle as much e.g., that women and girls don’t have to prove they are tough enough for fieldwork and it is just assumed they are; that internships are paid, so low-income students can gain valuable experience rather than having to take a paid position outside of their desired field; that trans students feel comfortable on campuses and don’t have to worry about such basic needs as where a safe bathroom is located.

“[My mother] worked hard so her children could have better futures, loved with open arms, and was strong and wise enough to know when to lean on her village for support.”

Amanda Hyman

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
My mother. She worked hard so her children could have better futures, loved with open arms, and was strong and wise enough to know when to lean on her village for support.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
Truthfully – learning how to cook with a pressure cooker is up there with finally getting my optimization code to run in Matlab.


#WomenInSTEM, #QueerInSTEM

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