Florida’s only state university museum is on the campus of UF. In celebration of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s 100-year anniversary, UF News explored the experiences of three women who are using museum collections and resources to blaze new trails in their fields of science.
Verity Mathis manages more than 33,000 specimens in the Florida Museum’s mammals collection. As an emerging voice in her field, Mathis combines research, outreach and taxonomy into this unique role at UF. She is the go-to person at the museum for those needing to reference the mammal’s collection for research studies, forensic identification and educational purposes. Her research interests include investigating the ecological and genetic processes involved in mammal evolution. As part of her outreach, she mentors aspiring scientists and leads tours of the collection.
Michelle Barboza is a graduate student in vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum. As part of her research, Barboza does isotopic analyses of mammal teeth to better understand what ancient animals ate, where they lived and how they evolved. Barboza is also the host and producer of the Femmes of STEM podcast, which explores the history and current experiences of women scientists. She actively seeks to engage with underrepresented scientists on social media and provides support in the STEM Squad Facebook group a supportive space open to all who identify as women in STEM.
Adania Flemming is an ichthyology graduate student and collections technician at the Florida Museum. When Adania is not mentoring aspiring women scientists on the UF campus, she spends her time in the creeks near Gainesville researching the life history of a tiny fish called the Swamp Darter (Etheostoma fusiforme). A native of Trinidad and Tobago, she hopes to eventually take her knowledge back to the islands and influence science outreach and education at home.