Name: Jean Nick
Place of Employment: Rodale Inc.
Job Title: Senior Information Analyst
Education: BS Biology/Botany/Chemistry Smith College
MS Horticulture (Plant Breeding) Cook College, Rutgers University
Raised in the country with a strong interest in the environment, the outdoors, and gardening, Jean pursued an education in botany and horticulture. After exploring a range of outdoor jobs from leading adventure trips, resource management, and commercial greenhouse management she settled into the publishing world where she uses her scientific background to write and provide other writers with background information in the fields of health (specifically how environmental chemicals impact health), organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, eco-sensitive living and environmental challenges. Jean lives on an organic farm in eastern Pennsylvania and helps her partner raise chickens, ducks, turkeys, and sheep on pasture, plus producing a good portion of the fruits and vegetables the family consumes.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered during your career in STEM?
Not being able to find a job in horticulture that suited me. Some might argue that publishing isn't strictly a STEM career, but is has been a good fit for me.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about having a career in STEM?
Observing the natural world, helping others see it, and knowing that I have helped preserve it by raising others' consciousness of it's beauty, importance, and inter-connectivity.
If you could give one piece of advice to a girl who is considering doing a Silver or Gold Award based on STEM or pursuing a career in STEM, what would that be?
Keep an open mind and look for ways to learn about the great web off life that is the planet.
Did you have STEM mentors?
I had a biology/botany/environmental science teacher in 12th grade who took us to environmental meetings and introduced us to cutting edge research into global warming (yes, way back in 1976 academics knew it was real and had been studying it), pollution, and alternative energy generation.
If you were a Girl Scout, what is your favorite Girl Scout memory?
Brownies all the way through 9th grade. I fear none of my leaders were particularly into science or the outdoors, but I have fond memories of s'mores and canned peaches in my mess kit cup at our rather tame backyard cookouts. We did travel to the D.C. area for a long weekend and stayed at a GS camp somewhere nearby (way too long ago to have a name) but the highlight was that one of my troopmates managed to drop a switched-on flashlight down the outhouse hole so the interior of the pit was eerily lighted for our entire stay. Pretty silly, no?