Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Role Model Material

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Amy Vedder is a great role model for me, and for all other women scientists.  I am particularly interested in volunteering with the U.S. Peace Corps, and Amy Vedder went to Africa with the Peace Corps straight out of college.  That’s amazing to me, and it shows total dedication to the world and to making the world a better place.  She was a mother of two, and has a world famous career.  Most women struggle to balance their career and their family life, but she did a perfectly fine job at both (her two sons are All-American lacrosse players). For over thirty years Amy Vedder has worked on conservation and preserving wildlife, and she still hasn’t stopped.  She gives lectures all around the world about conservation methods and reasons why their so important.  If I am half as productive as Amy Vedder I’ll be so proud of myself, and I know my family and friends will be too.

Mountain Gorilla Project

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Amy Vedder is most famous for starting the Mountain Gorilla Project with her husband, Bill Weber.  Originally the forest homes of the gorillas in Rwanda were going to be destroyed and turned into cattle grazing pastures.  When Amy heard news of this, she immediately went to the Rwandan government and proposed a different plan.  The plan was called the Mountain Gorilla Project and it was composed of three main ideas: increase protection of forests and gorilla habitats, inform and educate Rwandans about conservation, and bring in revenue by centralizing tourism around the gorillas.  Here is a video of Bill Weber explaining the Mountain Gorilla Project-


Behind the scenes

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Get an inside look on how Amy researches her gorillas.

Diane France Description

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

The scientist I chose to do my project on is forensic anthropologist Dr. Diane France. I chose Diane France over all the other scientists available because I find forensic anthropology really interesting and her work in the field inspiring. Diane Frances was born on May 11th, 1954 in Grand Junction, Colorado. Her love for science started at a young age when she began playing with microscopes and chemistry sets, and even dissecting frogs in her basement. Even though Diane originally went to the University of Colorado for marine biology, her love for bones pushed her to become a forensic anthropologist. As a forensic anthropologist, Diane identifies human bones to help solve crimes for law enforcement, like unsolved murders, or to identify loved ones in cases of disaster. Diane has worked many important cases including high profile murders, many of which are cold cases, and she even traveled to Russia to help solve the mystery of the Anastasia. As a member of Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, or DMORT, Diane works to identify victims in times of disaster all over the world. After the September 11th terrorist attack, Diane was sent to Stanton Island, New York with DMORT to help sort bone fragments out of the rubble for identification.  

Annotated Bibliography & 200 words

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Annotated Bibliography

Primary Sources

Dreifus, Claudia. “An Astronomer Devoted to the Icy and Far Away.” The New York Times. 01 Sept. 2008. Web. 9 Sept. 2011.

This source is an interview with Heidi Hammel with an editor from the New York Times. It discusses her involvement with work learning about Neptune and Uranus, and why she chose to work with the “dullest planets.” Also, it talks about her work with the Hubble Space Telescope, and how she manages to explain what she learns with everyone else in terms a non-scientist would understand.

Hammel, Heidi. “ASTRONOMY BEHIND THE HEADLINES A Podcast for Informal Science Educators from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.” Interview. Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Web. 9 Sept. 2011. <>.

This site provides a link to an interview with Heidi Hammel. This interview is in regards to the atmosphere discovered on Jupiter due to a collision with fragments from a comet. She discusses discoveries from this event. She also explains how the Hubble Space Telescope assisted with these discoveries.

“Heidi B. Hammel’s Frequently Asked Questions Page.” Fred Bortz, Children’s Science Writer. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <>.

This website is a list of frequently asked questions. There are questions about multiple different topics. Some are about her career and how she got started. There are also some about her personal life.

Morrow, Cherilynn. “Scientists in Education and Public Outreach.” Interview. Space Science Institute, Apr. 2001. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <>.

This is an interview with Heidi Hammel. In this interview, she discusses her involvement in educating the public, especially children, about her field of science through EPO(Education and Public Outreach). She discusses how and why she got involved in EPO. She also explains the challenges and rewards of being involved in a program like EPO.

Niebur, Susan. “Heidi Hammel: Ask for Help When You Need it « Women in Planetary Science: Female Scientists on Careers, Research, Space Science, and Work/Life Balance.” Women in Planetary Science: Female Scientists on Careers, Research, Space Science, and Work/Life Balance. 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <>.

This is an interview with Heidi Hammel. This interview discusses how she got involved in science and what she has done as a scientist. The article focuses mainly on her research on Neptune and Uranus. It also talks about how she juggles her life as a scientist and a woman with a family


Secondary Sources



This site is about Heidi Hammel’s background. It discusses her education before her career and research she has done. It also names some of the awards she has received for her work. Lastly, it also mentions her biography.

A Word on my Findings

Who knew it could be so hard to find sources for a scientist!  I most certainly didn’t think it would be.  After spending time looking, I found all of these sources are very helpful when trying to learn more about Heidi Hammel.  Some delve into her work and research, why she chose to do go into science, how she chose what planets she wanted to study, and she manages to juggle being a working woman with a family and a personal life.  I really enjoyed getting to learn more about Heidi Hammel and her field of work.  I always thought planets and space were interesting, but didn’t realize how involved and complex it could really be.  She focuses most of her work on Neptune and Uranus the “Icy Giants” and the “dullest planets,” as one interviewer pointed out.  Her defense for these planets is that they are always changing, therefore they are interesting to study.  Also, because no one has really focused on them before, everything she discovers is new to the science world.  She has also worked with the Hubble Space Telescope.  She actually led a team that analyzed photos from the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet hitting Jupiter.  And amidst all of this, she still has time for her husband and three kids.  How one woman manages to handle all of this is truly amazing!  I can’t wait to get deeper into my research and learn even more.

Amy Vedder- Gorilla’s Best Friend

Thursday, September 15th, 2011


Even as a young girl, Amy has always been fascinated by animals.  Maybe it’s because she and her three sisters cared for all types of different pets, or because her father had a veterinary practice where she would help out with the patients.  Probably both.  She grew up in a small town in upstate New York, and loved spending every moment outdoors.

When high school came around, she found out that she excelled in math and biology.  She then went onto Swarthmore College to get her degree in biology.  In comes Bill Weber, her best friend throughout college and soon to be her husband.  Once they graduated, the idea of traveling to Africa to volunteer as teachers with the Peace Corps captivated them both, because they shared the hopes of making the world a better place.  On this trip to Africa was where Amy met her first gorilla.  When she returned to the United States, both Amy and Bill got their graduate degrees and returned back to Africa to make their dream of studying gorillas come true.

They soon realized that the loss of natural habitat was endangering the gorillas, and did everything they could to deter the extinction of the species. They helped inform the Rwandans about the problem and the importance of conservation, raised money for projects, and founded the Mountain Gorilla Project.  When she returned to the United States next, she directed the Africa Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society for six years.  Now, she is Director of the Living Landscapes Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Amy Vedder is acknowledged for her 25 plus years of dedication to protect wildlife and wildland conservation.  She is known internationally for having launched highly successful conservation programs, and is still continuing her work to accomplish more.


Bibliography on Amy Vedder

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Primary Source:

Weber, Bill, and Vedder, Amy. In the Kingdom of Gorillas. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.


Written by Amy Vedder and her husband, Bill Weber, this book goes into major detail of their trip to Rwanda in the 1970’s.  This book provided a great background on Amy and Bill.  They met at Swathmore College, and both had the hopes to make the world a better place.  After graduating, their interest in conservation led them to join the Peace Corps.  Not qualified for any special positions, they both joined as general volunteers; which at the time was a field dominated by females. When they returned to the United States, Amy went to graduate school to study field biology, and later returned to Africa to study mountain gorillas.  Realizing that the loss of natural habitat was endangering the gorillas, they both made tremendous strides to deter the extinction of the depleting species.  They helped inform the Rwandans about the problem and the importance of conservation, raised money for projects, and founded the Mountain Gorilla Project.  As a primary source, I found the book to be useful in learning more about the advancements that Amy and her husband promoted in the field of primate conservation.

Secondary Sources:

Amy Vedder. The Wilderness Society, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.

This website was established by The Wilderness Society which is an organization dedicated to the preservation of the natural habitat of animals and plants.  On the site, I found a section for Amy Vedder as she is the Senior Vice President of Conservation for the society.  The page gave a basic overview of her career and cited many of Amy’s recent publications.


“Amy Vedder.” Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison held an event for 2010’s Earth Day at one of their conference centers and had about fifty speakers, Amy Vedder being one of them.  This website provided details of the event, and the backgrounds of the speakers.  They describe her as “one of the world’s foremost experts on wildlife and wilderness conservation.” It talks about the book she wrote with her husband, In the Kingdom of Gorillas, and many of her other accomplishments.  I didn’t find this source to be extensively useful as it was very brief and summarized much of the information found in other sources.


Ebersole, Rene. Gorilla Mountain: The Story of Wildlife Biologist Amy Vedder. New York:

Joseph Henry Press, 2006. Print.

This book provides everything you need to know about Amy Vedder.  It is an easy to read resource that contains many useful facts.  In this source, I learned despite many astounding accomplishments throughout her career, she faced some challenges as well.  Somewhat surprisingly, they weren’t gender challenges but many the struggles that Rwanda went through regarding conflict and war.


Novacek, Michael J., ed. The Biodiversity Crisis. New York: The New Press, 2001. Print.

In this book regarding biodiversity, there is an excerpt that covers Amy Vedder’s profile.  I learned about her profession as Director of the Living Landscapes Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the many things she did in order to protect animals and the land in which they live.  She was first exposed to this kind of science when she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa many years ago.  Several years after that, she established the Mountain Gorilla Project with her husband, and spent her time supporting the communities and raising money to protect the endangered species. When she returned the United States, she directed the Africa Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, WCS, for six years.  Even though this book only had a page about Amy Vedder, it was still very useful in giving a background of her life and the many significant things she accomplished.

Annotated bibliography

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Primary sources

France , Diane . “An Interview with Bone Detective Diane France .” Intervew by Megan Sullivan . november 22, 2007. National Science Teachers Association. Web.

This is an interview with Diane France done by a science teacher named Megan Sullivan. The interview was done for the national science teachers association. On the Interview Sullivan questions Frances about why she chose to be a forensic anthropologist and what her job entitles. Diane France also discusses some of her most her most famous cases, including working with September 11th victims. This source is helpful because in it France speaks about her personal own personal experiences and why she chose to become a Forensic anthropologist.

France , Diane . “forensic Anthropology .” Diane France: Forensic Anthropology, a Brief Review . Colorado State University , n. d. Web. 12 Sep. 2011. <>.  

This is a website created by Dr. Diane France, about forensic anthropology and her work as a professor at the University of Colorado. On the website France discusses what forensic anthropology is and how an anthropologist works. I found this source helpful because Dr. Diane France explains her work and how she performs her job.

“The Bone Detective .” Graphic. Youtube . Diane France. Irvine, California : DistinctiveVoicesBC , 2010. Web. 12 Sep 2011. <>.   ‘

This video is a recording of Diane France’s speech given at the Beckman center in Irvine, California, as part of the Distinctive voices program. During the presentation, France speaks about forensics to 5th grade students, and encourages them to become curious about science too. This video was helpful to me because it shows how Diane France would be a good role model for women, or anyone, who wants to pursue a career in science

Secondary Sources

Hopping , Lorraine, and Diane France . Bone Detective: The Story of Forensic Anthropologist Diane France. New York City : National Academies Press , 2006. Print.  

Bone detective: The Story of Forensic Anthropologist Diane France is a book about the life and work of Dr. Diane Frances. This book is written a biography by Lorraine Hopping, but it also includes some autobiographical chapters written by Diane Frances. France discusses how each bone or skeleton once belonged to someone living, and her job as a forensic anthropologist is to listen to their story. This source will be very useful when creating my presentation because it includes both biographical and autobiographical information. Also this book includes information on France’s childhood and education, which is very difficult to find on her.

“The Diane France Scrapbook .” I was wondering: women’s adventures in science . National Academy of Science , 2010. Web. 12 Sep. 2011. < >.     

The Diane France Scrapbook, is a webpage about the life and work of Diane France. The website was created by the National Academy of Science, and is based off of a book series on women scientist. The web page includes information about France’s work, and personal life, along with many quotes form France herself.  Even though this website was designed for middle school children, it will be a useful source because it contains quotes from Diane France.

Tertiary Sources

Wikipedia contributors. “Forensic Anthropology .” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, September 9th 2011. Web. 12 Sep 2011. <>.

This source is an online encyclopedia page on Forensic anthropology, from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. It includes an overview of forensic anthropology, along with information on other notable forensic anthropologists. This website was not particularly useful, but it supplied me with information on Forensic Anthropology, so I could better understand my scientist’s field of work.



Elizabeth Blackwell

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

My scientist is Elizabeth Blackwell. She was born in Bristol,
England on February 3rd, 1821. In 1833, Elizabeth and her family moved to the United States where she would eventually begin her medical career; she is most known for being the first female doctor. Her father, Samuel, owned a sugar refinery, and her mother, Hannah, introduced the children to music and literature. Her parents disagreed with public schooling, so Elizabeth and her siblings were taught by private tutors; both boys and girls were taught the same subjects. This may have played a role in Elizabeth’s ambitious goal of pursuing a career held by primarily men: medicine.

Elizabeth Blackwell was a pioneer for women in the medical field; she was the first woman to obtain a medical degree. She was accepted to Geneva Medical College and graduated in 1849. She is also the  first woman to appear on the United Kingdom medical register. Some of her other achievements include the foundation of the New York Dispensary for Indigent Women and Children, with her sister Emily, in 1853, and the New York Infirmary and College for Women. In addition, she established the US Sanitary Commission, and is the author of several books. Elizabeth died in Hastings, England on May 31st, 1910.

What interested me most about Elizabeth Blackwell was that she
was a physician. Doctors, even today, are often portrayed by men, and women are seen more as nurses. I myself have considered becoming a nurse, but I never really thought of becoming a doctor (not because I didn’t think I could). Funny enough, Elizabeth never considered a career in medicine herself. One of her friends suffered from a reproductive disorder and told Elizabeth that it would’ve been easier for her to seek treatment had she had a female doctor. It was then that Elizabeth began to invesigate the idea and after consulting many male physicians, who believed the idea was good but impossible for a woman, she accepted the challenge (Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession for Women).

I think Elizabeth Blackwell is a great role model for budding scientist, espcially girls. She displays the idea of equality, in that she recieved the same education as her brothers and challenged herself to do what men told her was impossible for women. She proved that women are just as capable as men. She was an experienced educator and used that skill to teach and train other women to become medical professionals at the college that she established for women. I think she would suggest a person considering a career in science to not be afraid of a challenge or to go when others have not gone before them.

Here’s a link to Elizabeth’s book, Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women. I’ve read a few of the pages and it’s really interesting to see what exactly was going through her mind while she achieved all the things she did. Clink “Preview this book” to read it online.

Annotated Bibliography on Elizabeth Blackwell

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Primary Sources

Blackwell, Elizabeth, and Emily Blackwell. Address on the Medical Education of

Women. New  York: Baptist and Taylor, Book and Job Printers. 1864. Print.

This source is an address written by Elizabeth Blackwell and her
sister Emily that was presented before a meeting at the New York Infirmary. In
it Elizabeth describes the reactions of disbelief both men and women had when
she decided to go to medical school. This source will provide excellent
information on the opposition Elizabeth faced pursuing a career in a field of
primary men. The experiences shared in this article come directly from
Elizabeth which makes the source very reliable, and the details of adversity
will be useful when researching Elizabeth’s hardships.


Blackwell, Elizabeth. Scientific Method in Biology. London:

Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.C. 1898. Print.

This book written by Elizabeth Blackwell discusses various aspects
of scientific research such as the importance of morality and the necessity of
research. Blackwell wrote this book after she became a doctor which gives her
the proper authority to have written this material. This source demonstrates
Blackwell’s dedication to research and her career as a scientist. It will be
beneficial to my research on Elizabeth’s medical career and as an educator.


Blackwell, Elizabeth. The Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession

to Women. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1895. Print.

This book is an autobiographical source of Elizabeth Blackwell’s
life. Its contents span from Elizabeth’s early life to her return to England in
1869, and it details the struggles she faced beginning her medical career. This
source will be great for providing personal insight on what motivated Blackwell
and helped her overcome challenges. Considering the book is written by
Blackwell herself, it has good authority, and it will be a good source to pull
quotes from to add to my research.


Secondary Sources

n.p. “Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell” Changing the Face of Medicine. n.d. Web. 11 Sept.

2011. <


This source is wonderfully organized; it lists Blackwell’s
inspiration and milestones, after basic information such as her birth, and
which school she graduated from. A biography focused more on her adult life
follows. This source is useful in that the time frame is more specific to the
span of Elizabeth’s career. It details how her acceptance to Geneva was somewhat
of a joke, but she proved everyone wrong by receiving an M.D. degree. This
source will specifically be useful to my research on Blackwell’s education and


n.p. “Elizabeth Blackwell.” n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.


This source offers a chronological overview of Elizabeth Blackwell’s career as a
physician and educator. It also states the various medical contributions that
she made such as the establishment of the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women
and Children and the US Sanitary Commission. This source will support my
research by giving me outline of Blackwell’s achievements and serve as a general
timeline. The source does not provide very much publication information, but
the database proves to be reliable.


Tertiary Sources

n.p. “Elizabeth Blackwell Biography” Encyclopedia of World Biography. n.d.

Web. 26 Sept. 2011.
This is an encyclopedia on Elizabeth Blackwell that has different parts
of her life divided into different sections: early life, education, career.
I also really liked the picture it displays of Elizabeth. It was useful to my
research by supporting facts that I had gotten from other sources as well
as providing any additional information. The information given is
consistent to that seen in other sources which makes it reliable.

 n.p. “Blackwell, Elizabeth.” UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2003. Web.

11 Sept. 2011.<>

This encyclopedia page served as starting point for my research. It allowed me to
gain perspective on Blackwell’s life and what she’s known for (being the first
woman doctor). It gave me a basic overview of her career, and then I was able
to search for more sources. This source, unlike the other web sources, has a
publishing date which leads me to believe that the information has not been
edited since that date keeping the information consistent.