Herpetologist Highlight

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Herpetologist Highlight

Name: Nathalie Jreidini

Age: 22

Website / Twitter Handle / Instagram: Instagram and twitter handle: @nat_jreidini

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathalie-jreidini/

Where do you work? McGill University, Biology Department, Redpath Museum

Position: MSc Biology candidate, Teaching Assistant

How did you get there? As most modern-day scientists, I grew up reading science magazines and watching animal documentaries. This sparked my curiosity and made me realize how behaviorally diverse and plainly weird animals can be. However, the biology classes given at my conservative high school focused on the medical subfield in biology rather than the ecological, wildlife, and evolutionary subfields, and so I was not satisfied with my education in that aspect. I went on to complete a BSc in Honours Biology, where I was prompted to start a career in research. After working in both laboratory and field settings, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in ecology and so the next step was to go to grad school.

Was there any particular hardship that you had to overcome to work in your position? I grew up in Lebanon, where neither a career in ecology is recognized to be a real occupation, nor is any profession in biological research. And so, despite the lack of support from high school teachers, I moved to Montreal to get a shot at fulfilling my passion. However, I quickly realized that the field was governed by men. I had to work twice as hard to earn my position in the workplace, especially during my earlier job experiences where I wasn’t taken seriously and would get teased for being a “petite” Arab woman.

What advice do you give to someone interested in your profession? What advice might you have for someone from an underrepresented group who is interested in entering your field? I would advise anyone interested in a career in research, especially one involving fieldwork, to try not to give in to negative comments about age, sex, or ethnicity. You deserve a fair shot, and might end up doing a better job than someone else who is deemed more “fit for the job”. If you are from an underrepresented group, then maybe try to reach out to someone in your field whom you can relate to and can offer you specific guidance.

What’s your favorite herp? I can’t pick a favorite, but the first herp I got into as a kid (and extensively googled) was the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum).

Why are you an HL member? I wanted to be part of a community of people whose research interests are similar to mine.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Is there a good caption for your attached photograph? Late night cuddles with a juvenile toad.

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