I took all the science I could in school. But, because I did not have the advantage of
going to schools with strong science programs, I motivated myself to go to the library by
inventing projects. Books were some of my best friends growing up, and they helped me
maintain my interest and growth in science. When I was 10, I went through a phase where I
became extraordinarily interested in birds. At that point, I started my bird book project
which lasted two years. It was a three-ring binder filled with every picture and every
fact I could find about birds. I had pages of envelopes with feathers, and even spent
time at the zoo taking pictures with my Kodak Brownie camera of exotic birds. Sometimes
the zoo keeper would give me feathers that he saved when he cleaned the cages, which
ended up in my book. My friends called me "bird brain," but it didn't bother me much. I
liked my project and learned a lot.
My biggest inspiration was my mom. Both literally and figuratively she "egged me on"
to collect my rocks (she provided the egg cartons to house my collection!) and then
helped me identify them. She always encouraged me to pursue my interest in nature and to
read the right books. She even tolerated my museum/room with all the creepy crawlies that
were in there (or in my pockets come laundry time!).