The UN named February 11 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and Nashville Zoo is joining the celebration to recognize the incredible women that have dedicated their professional lives to science and conservation work locally and around the world.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in science?
“To me, being a woman in science means being a part of a steadily growing community. It also means being a mentor and role model for young girls who may also aspire to work in this field one day.” - Thaisa Bell, School Programs Manager
“I take a sense of pride being a woman in science. It was not an easy road to take, but a fulfilling one. For me, science is that puzzle I always want to figure out or am wanting to find that answer. The question I continue to ask myself is What am I do to make a difference?” - Cinnamon Williams, Mammal Curator
Cinnamon Williams, Mammal Curator
Why do you love working in the science profession?
“I enjoy being able to connect with nature and see the impact I can have on a daily basis. I like being a part of a community that works towards common goals of conservation and the betterment of animals’ lives. I like having a job that gives me a sense of purpose. “ - Kristine Ness, Lead Avian Keeper
“I really enjoy the science field because there is always something new to learn. There are some many things we have yet to understand which can be frustrating and exciting at the same time.” - Sherri Doro Reinsch, Lead Herpetology Keeper
Sherri Doro Reinsch, Lead Herpetology Keeper
How do you feel empowered being a woman scientist?
“My job allows me to make an impact on the public perspective of nature and be able to influence children and encourage their knowledge and appreciation of nature. I have been able to learn things in my job that have helped improve the husbandry and propagation of certain species and influence others to improve their practices.” – Kristine Ness, Lead Avian Keeper
“Our whole veterinary team is comprised of women of various backgrounds. Sometimes I stand back and just admire what we have all been through and what we can accomplish as women. Makes me so proud.” – Dr. Heather Schwartz, Director of Veterinary Services
Dr. Heather Schwartz, Director of Veterinary Services
What is one of your favorite memories working in science or at the Zoo that reflects your love for this profession?
“My favorite memory and when I felt most fulfilled was when our Hellbender Partnership released hellbenders back in Middle TN after raising them from eggs. It was great to see how much we could accomplish by working together especially with local animals in our backyard.” - Sherri Doro Reinsch, Lead Herpetology Keeper
“It is hard to pull out just one memory after 25 years, but every good memory has to do with providing the best care for the animals. Whether it's providing the husbandry so that they have strong and healthy lives or helping a species that is endangered in the wild to continue living in its natural habitat. We are the ambassadors for these animals every day, what is better than that?” - Cinnamon Williams, Mammal Curator
Thaisa Bell, School Programs Manager
Have you always known you wanted to work in science?
“Yes, in some form. Initially, I wanted to be a veterinarian but changed it to dentistry to follow in my grandfather's footsteps. It was my last year in college when I took a job as an assistant zoo keeper at the Kansas City Zoo, that changed the whole trajectory of my career.” - Dr. Heather Schwartz, Director of Veterinary Services
“Ever since I was a child, I have loved the outdoors and being around animals. I knew I wanted to do something involving nature. I also love taking pictures of animals and scenery and briefly dreamed of being a wildlife photographer.” - Kristine Ness, Lead Avian Keeper
Kristine Ness, Lead Avian Keeper
Join us today in celebrating our amazing women here at Nashville Zoo who work tirelessly to provide extraordinary animal care and educate guests while furthering the mission of the Zoo!