Good books broaden our horizons and inspire new conversations, no matter where we are! We were so proud to partner with Alachua County Library District in support of the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, a series of events building community while lifting the voices of women in science.
We began the NEA Big read in September 2020 and held our final event in March 2021. It was so inspiring to bring together young scientists with current scientists to talk about careers in STEM, as well as what life looked like as a scientist. We have immense gratitude for all of the speakers, students, researchers, librarians and the support team it took to coordinate this program. And special thanks goes out to Chelsea Collison and Jasmin Tran for having the big idea.
Please enjoy exploring the books, recorded Zooms, projects and more from the NEA Big Read!
by Hope Jahren
Autobiography of a geobiologist celebrating the lifelong curiosity, humility and passion that drives every scientist.
Target ages: Teen & Adult.
by Jeannine Atkins
Novel celebrating the lives of three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become scientists.
Target ages: Grades 5 & up.
Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist
by Christine Evans
The true story of a world-traveling bug scientist told with beautiful illustrations.
Target ages: Grades 1-5.
Swimming with Sharks
by Heather Lang
A richly-illustrated picture biography of scientist Eugenie Clark’s groundbreaking shark research.
Target ages: Grades K-3.
You can find all of these books at Alachua County Library District.
The goal of the NEA Big Read was to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.
We partnered with Alachua County Library District to discuss the book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and organized multiple events celebrating women in science. In addition to Lab Girl, this series also discussed Swimming with Sharks, Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist, and Finding Wonders so we could engage young scientists of all reading levels.
To ensure our guest could equally enjoy these books, we were able to give away free copies in advance of the event series. Participating families were able to select one of the four books available for free from the Florida Museum and the Alachua County Library. We also gave away a DVD of Prehistoric Road Trip in advance of Emily Graslie’s event and Braiding Sweetgrass in advance of the talk by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
In all, we gave way:
- 95 copies of Lab Girl
- 70 copies of Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist
- 52 copies of Swimming with Sharks
- 49 copies of Finding Wonders
- 40 copies of the Prehistoric Road Trip DVD set
- 113 copies of Braiding Sweetgrass
This FREE virtual event took us behind-the-scenes and into the labs of Florida Museum scientists! Learn about their experiences as local women in STEM, see cool objects and hear encouraging words of wisdom for future researchers.Read blog post
- Nicole Cannarozzi, Collection Manager of the Florida Museum Environmental Archaeology Collection
- Pam Soltis, Distinguished Professor and Curator of the Florida Museum’s Molecular Lab
- Sarah Steele Cabrera, Research Assistant in the Florida Museum’s Daniels Lab
- Carmi Milagros Thompson, Collection Manager of the Florida Museum Invertebrate Paleontology Collection
Science is never perfect, it can be unpredictable, hilarious and fun! Join us via Zoom for a night of storytelling, science and fun. This special evening, presented in partnership with Guts & Glory GNV, is a FREE virtual event featuring personal and true stories told by real scientists!Read blog post
- Allison Bordini, Outreach Assistant for the Florida Museum’s Laboratory of Molecular Systematics & Evolutionary Genetics
- Trista Brophy-Duron, Ph.D. student in UF’s School of Natural Resources and Environment
- Aditi Jayarajan, Ph.D. student in the Florida Museum’s Mammals Collection
- Laurel Kaminsky, Lepidoptera Digitization Coordinator in the Florida Museum’s Kawahara Lab
- Nattapol Kraisitudomsook, Ph.D. Student in UF’s Department of Plant Pathology
We zoomed with Heather Lang, the author of Swimming with Sharks, a richly-illustrated picture biography of scientist Eugenie Clark’s groundbreaking shark research, as well as two women scientists who have worked with sharks.
Target ages: Grades K-3
- Heather Lang, author of Swimming with Sharks
- Shannon Corrigan, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Florida Program for Shark Research
- Lindsay French, STEM Education Coordinator at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center
We Zoomed with Christine Evans, author of the book Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist, an illustrated picture biography of scientist Evelyn Cheesman and her perseverance in science during a particular male-dominated era. We were joined by two amazing entomologists, Rachel Atchison and VR Seagal.
Target ages: Grades 1-5
- Christine Evans, author of Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist
- Rachel Atchison, Biological Science Technician at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- VR Seagal, Graduate Student in UF’s Entomology and Nematology Department
Many young scientists and their families joined us on a Zoom on Feb. 13 to learn about the challenges and opportunities of a career in scientific fields. Florida Museum and University of Florida scientists shared their work and answered questions.
Target ages: Grades K-12
- Jade Salamone, Conservation Education Curator at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo.
Learn how zoos contribute to wildlife conservation and bring animals back from the brink of extinction.
- Maria Beatriz Cortez, Ph.D Candidate at the Soltis Lab.
Learn more about Spanish moss, which is neither Spanish, nor a moss. What is this mysterious being that drapes our beloved oak trees?
- Tyler Bowling, Manager of the Florida Program for Shark Research.
Hear about shark research with jaws, tags and other props! Learn about International Shark Attack File investigations and shark movement in the state of Florida
- Fiona Harris, Graduate Researcher at UF’s Department of Microbiology & Cell Science.
Use microscopes and staining techniques to compare the size and shape of lake microorganisms, bacterial cells, and human cells. Discover how these microorganisms impact your life and the life of larger organisms around you.
NEA Big Read Series Schedule
Sept. 14 to 19, 2020– Book Pickup
Sept. 19, 2020– NEA Big Read Kickoff: Lab Blitz
Sept. 24, 2020– Fieldwork Fails
Oct. 13, 2020– Book Meetup: Lab Girl
Nov. 17, 2020– Book Meetup: Lab Girl
Dec. 5, 2020– Book Meetup: Swimming with Sharks
Jan. 12, 2021– Book Meetup: Lab Girl
Jan. 30, 2021– Book Meetup: Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist
Feb. 13, 2021– Girls Do Science
Feb. 19, 2021– Keynote Speaker: Emily Graslie
March 18, 2021– Keynote Speaker: Robin Wall Kimmerer
March 27, 2021– Book Meetup: Finding Wonders
NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.