G.E.M. Environmental is excited to share another new addition to our monthly blog series - Science Stories. Each month, we interview a STEM scholar, student, or community member and ask them things like why they believe the STEM fields are important, how they got started in their field, to what they would do if they hit the jackpot. We hope that our new blog series will inspire, introduce a variety of fields, and create new conversations.
Our guest this month is Natalie Madara-Yagla, Marine Biology student at Yavapai College. After she graduates, Natalie plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in Monterey, CA.
Why do you believe that the STEM fields are important?
I believe that the STEM fields are important because it is the future of how our country will flourish. It also shows and let's people know what is going on in the world.
How and why did you get involved in the STEM fields?
What sparked an interest in one of the STEM fields, biology, was when I went to Costa Rica. I got to go snorkeling and while that was happening the tour guides let me hold some animals. The animals were a baby octopus, a puffer fish, and also a star fish. As soon as I held them, I knew this was the thing for me.
Can you describe another aspect of your life or career that is influenced or enriched by the STEM fields that people would find surprising?
I used to go surveying with my mom, who is a wildlife biologist. I went bird and owl surveying (where you count how many birds and what kind), then record. It was a lot of fun and that experience started this journey of working in the STEM fields.
What inspires you in your current position/role?
What inspires me the most in my position is seeing that the animals and the ocean need help. That inspires me to want to help so that the other generations can enjoy what we are enjoying at this moment.
What work experiences (past or present) have been the most educational for you, and why?
The most educational work experience for me was working on the surveys with my mom because it allowed me to see what she did as a job. It also let me explore some of the STEM careers (even though it is one job out of a million they have).
What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?
My favorite hobby is to draw. I can basically do every medium, but I mostly do pencil, watercolor, and acrylic. It lets me relax and have fun at the same time. I also like to hike and shoot.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
The funniest thing that has happened to me lately was that I had to go to physical therapy and my friend and I just brought out bikes from spring break. We decided it would be so fun to go riding since we just got them. We started to go and we were dying with exhaustion going up all the hills. We did not realize how many hills there were! So let's just say it's been 2 or 3 weeks since we've rode the bikes since.
You won $10 million in the lotto. What would you do?
If I won that much money I would buy myself an aquarium. I would love for that to happen so I can see all the animals and help them out.
Thanks for sharing, Natalie, and wish you the best of luck on your Marine Biology adventures.
Check back next month for more Science Stories. Want to be featured? Contact us.