NightSchool marks International Women’s Day by handing over the mic to a panel of accomplished scientists. Alie Ward, creator and host of the Ologies podcast, leads insightful conversations and an eye-opening discussion about what it’s like and what it means to be a woman in science in 2021.

Meet the panelists:

  • Chrissy Garcia, Collections Manager, Geology, California Academy of Sciences. Chrissy is a geologist and micropaleontologist with a focus in marine ecosystems. Her work has taken her from the Florida Coast to the outer reaches of Sumatra, Indonesia. Chrissy now oversees the geological research collections at the Academy. These research collections consist of approximately 8 million objects, from fossil whales to microscopic single celled organisms, to rocks, gems and meteorites. The collections support research from around the world, along with public learning and engagement. In both her previous research and in her current role, Chrissy is inspired and motivated by the insights the fossil record provides in understanding past, present and future environmental change, and strives to make fossil data available to all.
  • Dr. Alejandra Hernández-Agreda, Research Fellow, California Academy of Sciences. Alejandra is a marine ecologist interested in the ecological and evolutionary processes driving the distribution and abundance of tropical corals. Her research focuses on two areas: the interactions between coral, coral’s microbes, and the environment, and the role of each of these components in coral health and survival. She aims to identify the reasons behind the rapid decline of coral species, such as the Caribbean endemic Sunray Lettuce coral (Helioseris cucullata), whose populations have decreased 120-fold in only 30 years. To identify the characteristics and strategies that permit their survival, Alejandra combines technical diving, underwater photography (photogrammetry), and genetic tools to map corals and their genetic information.
  • Dr. Melanie Malone, Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Bothell. Melanie’s research draws on critical physical geography to examine the biophysical, institutional, political, and cultural dynamics of environmental challenges. In previous years she has worked as an environmental geologist at the Portland Harbor Superfund site cleaning up contamination. She has also worked in remote locations in the Pacific Northwest investigating how agricultural conservation management techniques affected sediment runoff, herbicide use, and cultural farming practices. In her current research, she explores the concentration levels of contamination and lack of health regulations in urban community gardens in Seattle, Washington and Brooklyn, New York, as well as the social and environmental justice concerns of gardeners in community garden spaces.
  • Dr. Suzanne Pierre, Director, Critical Ecology Lab. Suzanne is a global change ecologist, biogeochemist, and environmental educator. Her scientific expertise centers on climate change and the chemical interactions between plants, microbes, and the non-living environment. Pierre is the founder and director of the Critical Ecology Lab, a nonprofit research group that collaborates with academic and community-based organizations to examine the social drivers of environmental change. She is currently a visiting researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley and a 2021 Osher Fellow at the California Academy of Sciences. During her Fellowship, Pierre will be working alongside staff across the institution to bring an ecosystems and anti-racist approach to the Academy’s emerging strategic direction while working on her book project exploring the consequences of oppressive social systems for global elemental cycles and our planetary future.

All NightLife virtual programming is intended for audiences 21+.



Missed the party? Just want to relive the magic? Watch the recorded livestreams on YouTube!


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