Women in Science

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The Prairie Research Institute celebrates the many accomplished women engaged in scientific inquiry, discovery, and practice throughout its five surveys: the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

list of blog posts

  • Claire Dappert-Coonrod: Archaeologist & Maritime Archaeologist

    Claire Dappert-Coonrod has been with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey since 1999 and offers up personal reflections on her long and very interesting career in archaeology.

  • Tara Beveroth: Ornithologist

    Tara Beveroth always knew she wanted to be a biologist and work with wildlife. 

  • Lauren Fitts: Archaeologist

    Lauren Fitts: Archaeologist

  • Connie Carroll-Cunningham: Botanist

    For Connie, one of the best parts of her job is getting to work outside in nature, even on those hot, humid summer days in Illinois.

  • Elaine Bluhm Herold: Pioneer in Illinois Archaeology

    Elaine Bluhm Herold's archaeological career spanned 55 years and included research, education, historic preservation, and excavations throughout the eastern woodlands. 

  • Sarah Douglass: Mussel Field Biologist

    After becoming become acquainted with the wonderful world under the water, Sarah Douglass went on to study freshwater mussels. The best part of her job: being outside and working in rivers.

  • Alleen Betzenhauser: Senior Research Archaeologist

    Alleen (Al) Betzenhauser was always fascinated by history, particularly periods without written records. That fascination turned into an archaeology career that was part of one of the biggest archaeological excavations in North America–The East St. Louis site.

  • Tara Hohoff: Wildlife Biologist

    Tara Hohoff is happiest when she can be outside observing animals, especially bats.

  • Clare Tolmie: Senior Research Archaeologist

    Clare Tolmie has been a professional archaeologist for nearly 40 years. 

  • Jessica Ackerman: Wetland Geologist

    "Don’t be afraid to get dirty" and "don’t be afraid to ask for help."

  • Zohreh Askari: Geologic Specialist

    "Science is a wonderful field, and I can honestly say that I have never had a boring day."

  • Yang Fang: Reservoir Engineer

    Yang Fang says the best part of her job is that "it is meaningful."

  • Nancy Holm: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

    "We need scientists, both male and female, to study all of the different aspects of the world," says Nancy Holm.

  • Sallie Greenberg: Associate Director, Energy Research & Development

    "Science may not be an easy path, but it is worthwhile."

  • Laurel Dodgen: Postdoctoral Research Associate

    "I get to grow plants, collect field samples, write computer code, and more."

  • Gail Kampmeier: Entomologist

    After taking a winding path into science, entomologist Gail Kampmeier went on to have a long career in biodiversity informatics and plant virus epidemiology.

  • Zoe Zaloudek: GIS Specialist

    University of Illinois alumna Zoe Zaloudek first began working at the Illinois State Water Survey as a GIS intern for FEMA’s Floodplain Map Modernization project. She joined the Midwestern Regional Climate Center in March 2010.

  • Srirupa Ganguly: Process Development Engineer

    Srirupa Ganguly loves that her role enables her to work on ideas to upgrade wastewater to make it useful.

  • Brenda Molano-Flores: Plant Ecologist

    Brenda Molano-Flores collects the data needed to conserve rare plants through her applied ecology research program, all while mentoring the next generation of scientists.

  • Beth Hall: Director, Midwest Regional Climate Center

    Beth Hall, director of the Midwest Regional Climate Center, is proud of building a program that directly links science to stakeholders' needs and of the impact her team has across the nine-state Midwest region.

  • Eve Hargrave: Skeletal Analyst

    Eve Hargrave became interested in archaeology as a teenager. After watching a prehistoric burial excavation she began a 35+ year career in bioarchaeology, the study of human remains and mortuary features from archaeological contexts.

  • Beth Meschewski: Research Specialist

    Beth Meschewski says the best part of her job with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is that she gets to work on her two favorite things: saving the planet and fixing problems.

  • Jennie Atkins: Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program

    Environmental chemist Jennie Atkins has always been curious about how things work and why things are the way they are.

  • Laura Keefer: Surface Water Hydrology and Hydraulics

    Laura Keefer believes her career at the Illinois State Water Survey chose her—and it seems to have chosen well, as Keefer has been with ISWS since 1986 and now leads the Surface Water Hydrology & Hydraulics Section. 

  • Susan Post: Entomologist

    Inspired by family and 4-H, Susan Post "took the road less traveled," and became an entomologist when there were few women in the field.

  • Madeleine Evans: Lithic Analyst

    Madeleine Evans doesn't remember what made her choose archaeology as a career, but she's never regretted it. 

  • Alison Stodola: Aquatic Biologist

    Aquatic biologist Alison Stodola turned her love of science and stream species into a career. Now she travels around the state, documenting fish and freshwater mussels.

  • Andrya Whitten: Aquatic Ecologist

    Aquatic ecologist Andrya Whitten always enjoyed science, but after her first high school environmental science class she was hooked.

  • Tamira K. Brennan: Archaeologist

    Dr. Tamira K. Brennan is a Coordinator for the Illinois State Archaeological Survey's American Bottom Field Station in Fairview Heights, IL. 

  • Molly Woloszyn: Extension Climate Specialist

    A lifelong interest in weather (and a little healthy fear of tornadoes) led Molly Woloszyn to a career with the Illinois State Water Survey, where she focuses on helping people understand and plan for extreme weather and shifts in climate. 

  • Christine Parker: Avian Ecologist

    A lifelong love of wildlife led Christine Parker to pursue a PhD in avian ecology—time flies by when she's out tracking turkeys for her research.

  • Lydia Moore Hart: Biological Illustrator

    Lydia Moore Hart, together with Charlotte M. Pinkerton, created the original artwork that graced the pages of The Fishes of Illinois.