Franziska Sattler is a science educator, evolutionary biologist and vertebrate paleontologist. In other words, Franziska has achieved her childhood dream of becoming a “Dino Woman” and has traveled throughout USA and Germany discovering dinosaur bones. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Geology, and Master’s Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Freie Universität Berlin. Below she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I currently study the head anatomy and dentation of Tyrannosaurus rex, to see how fast their teeth have been replaced during their lifetime. I use the same software as doctors in the hospital to look at CT images of the jaw.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
I strongly believe that anybody can become a scientist! I am a first generation academic and all you need is curiosity, passion and the willingness to learn new things every day. Sometimes it is hard being a scientist, but you get to do a lot of super cool stuff and travel the world.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I always knew I wanted to be a paleontologist. Actually, when I was a little girl, I told everybody I wanted to be a "dino woman" and no one knew what that meant until I got older. My grandpa always got me little dinosaur toys and we watched A Land Before Time when I was really little and when I was five years old I watched Jurassic Park with my parents and knew I found my dream job, minus the being eaten by dinosaurs of course!
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I did not really have a mentor as a young kid, but before I started university in 2009, I applied for an internship at the natural history museum in Berlin and was accepted! My boss, and later supervisor, was a young woman and that greatly shaped my career. I finally had another female scientist to look up to, learn from and work with. We are still close today and are currently writing a paper together.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
What I always loved most about paleontology is that you get to do fieldwork! I went on several digs in the USA and Germany and there is nothing cooler than discovering your first bone that no one has ever seen or touched before. Those fossils are usually over 66 million years old!
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Don't ever worry about being the only girl interested in what you love! There might be a lot of boys, and later men, around you and you might doubt your place in the world sometimes - but DON'T GIVE UP. If you love what you do, and if you have passion for science and research, you will succeed! And you might even be the next generation of female scientists that will inspire future little girls to follow in your footsteps.
Thank you for contributing, Franziska!
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