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Women in Paleontology Day (Orlando, FL)

May 6, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Come join us for the fourth annual Women in Paleontology event at the Orlando Science Center!  This year’s event is going to be bigger and better than ever, with amazing female speakers and lots of interactive paleontology-themed activities.  There will also be fossil-themed stickers, take-home fossils, and more.  Don’t miss it!

We are proud to have a diverse group of women scientists speaking at this year’s event, which we hope will help to inspire more girls and young women to follow their dreams and pursue STEM fields.  Through generous Education & Outreach grant funding from the Paleontological Society, underprivileged families from urban Orlando will be able to attend the event for free.

For Women in Paleontology 2017, the following incredible lineup of speakers will be present:

speakers pic

(From top left to bottom right: Dr. Celina Suarez from the University of Arkansas – joining via Skype presentation; Ta-Shana Taylor from the University of Miami; Michelle Barboza from the University of Florida; Dr. Laura Cotton from the Florida Museum of Natural History; Rachel Narducci from the Florida Museum of Natural History; and Patrisha Meyers from Seminole State College of Florida)



  • 10-10:15am: Meet ‘n’ Greet
  • 10:15-10:45am: “Accidental Scientist” presentation by Michelle Barboza-Ramirez
    • Michelle is a vertebrate paleontology graduate student at the Florida Museum of Natural History. She has a B.S. in Geological Sciences with a minor in Geography from California State University-Fullerton, and is currently working toward her M.S. at the University of Florida. Her research uses isotopic analysis of teeth from plant-eating mammals in order to reconstruct ancient ecosystems. She has a strong interest in science communication and promoting diversity in science; she is the producer and host of the “Femmes of STEM” podcast.
  • 11:00-11:30am: “Archaeologists Don’t Dig Dinosaurs: Anthropology vs. Paleontology” presentation by Patrisha Meyers
    • Patrisha teaches anthropology at Seminole State College of Florida. She is a registered professional archaeologist and holds a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Central Florida and a Graduate Certificate in Forensic and Biological Anthropology from Mercyhurst University. Her research interests include Forensic Anthropology, Bioarchaeology, Human Paleopathology, Historical Marginalization of Social Groups, Cemetery Studies, Historical Perspectives on Local Legends, and Differential Burial Practices.
  • 11:45am-12:15pm: “Digging into Paleontology: Fieldwork at the Montbrook Fossil Site” presentation by Rachel E. Narducci
    • Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Anthropology from the University of Florida and will begin research towards a M.S. in Zoology in the Fall of 2017. She is the Volunteer Coordinator, co-Site Manager, and Social Media Manager for the ‘Montbrook Fossil Dig,’ a project funded by the National Science Foundation. She is also a Collection Assistant and Fossil Preparator for the Invertebrate Paleontology Division of the Florida Museum of Natural History. Rachel has presented research on the head shields of pampatheres (giant armadillo-like creatures) and was a speaker in the FOSSIL Project’s ‘Fundamentals of Fossils’ webinar series. She takes part in various outreach activities and was previously employed to prepare/curate fossils from the Panama Canal, Bahamas, Haile Limestone Quarry, Thomas Farm, those of ‘Titanoboa: Monster Snake,’ and has conducted field work throughout Florida, in 7 other states, and the Panama Canal.
  • 12:30-1:00pm: “A Geologist’s Contribution to Marine Mammal Conservation” presentation by Ta-Shana Taylor
    • Ta-Shana is Lecturer at the University of Miami (Florida) in the Department of Geological Sciences. She earned a B.S. in Geology from Northeastern University in Boston, a M.S. in Geosciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and a M.S. in Teaching from Pace University in New York City. She enjoys learning what the dead can tell us, which is what made her love paleontology. When she was conducting research in Mexico, her specialty was marine mammal taphonomy. Now she focuses on public outreach and education. Ta-Shana has developed curriculum and executed professional development training for K-12 teachers and museum educators. She has worked on STEM grants through science museums, has engaged the general public through science cafés, and, along with teaching at the University of Miami, is currently leading a community outreach effort that engages underrepresented populations in outdoor experiences and environmental advocacy.
  • 1:15-1:45pm: “Evidence Locked Within: Using the Geochemistry Composition of Fossils to Understand Prehistoric Worlds” presentation (via Skype from the field) by Dr. Celina A. Suarez
    • Dr. Suarez’s research focuses on using trace element and stable isotope geochemistry of fossil vertebrates and invertebrates to understand paleoecology, paleoclimatology, and taphonomy of ancient terrestrial ecosystems. She is particularly interested in past greenhouse climates and major climate shifts such as the mid-Cretaceous thermal maximum and the endTriassic extinction. She also uses carbon isotope chemostratigraphy to identify major global C-cycle shifts in Earth’s deep-time history. Her research has taken her to locations such as the Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah, the Xinminpu Group of Gansu Province in China, the Prince Creek Formation off the North Slope of Alaska, and the Triassic-Jurassic Moenave Formation of southern Utah. Dr. Suarez is a native of San Antonio, TX. She was an NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at Boise State University in Idaho where she used rare earth elements, stable isotopes, and infrared spectroscopy to understand bone preservation and diagenesis, prior to joining the department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas in August of 2012. Geminiraptor suarezarum, a new troodontid dinosaur from the Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah, was named after her and her twin sister, Marina, for discovering the site from which it came.
  • 2:00-2:30pm: “Tiny Fossils, Big Questions: What Large Foraminifera Can Tell Us About Climate Events” presentation by Dr. Laura Cotton
    • Laura completed a Masters of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford (England) in 2008, followed by a PhD in 2012 at Cardiff University (England) on the large benthic foraminifera of Tanzania and the Eocene-Oligocene transition. After this, she continued to work on larger foraminifera, with short research positions at the University of Tokyo (Japan) and the University of Vienna (Austria). Laura then spent three years at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands as a post-doctoral researcher, followed by six months as a post-doc at the University of Hong Kong. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida and the Florida Museum of Natural History, where she continues to study the interactions between larger benthic foraminifera and climate. Laura is additionally responsible for curating the micropalaeontological collections at FLMNH.



May 6, 2017
10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Orlando Science Center
777 E. Princeton Street
Orlando, FL 32803 United States
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