Kelly Speer

Vlogger, Comparative Biologist

My first experiences with science in school were terrible. I got bad grades in these classes and I was embarrassed every time I answered a question wrong, which felt like most of the time. Science seemed insurmountable to me, like I would just never be a “science person.” My mindset completely changed when I started as an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico and happened to meet the curator of Mammalogy at the Museum of Southwestern Biology. Even though I had grown up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I had never even heard of this museum or any other natural history museum. I was offered the opportunity to volunteer at the Museum of Southwestern Biology, where I helped curate specimens and even conducted an independent research project! As it turns out I’m not inherently bad at science; I just hadn’t found the right motivator or context to frame the information that I had learned about in science class. Natural history collections are the storehouses of our collective biodiversity knowledge, and they are also the perfect gateway for giving people positive interactions with science. I joined to get the word out that everyone is a “science person” given the opportunity to be intrigued and inspired! I use natural history collections to create these opportunities, especially for people who aren’t as privileged as I am.

Videos from Kelly: