FLY WOMEN - Hazel Theriault
1) What sparked your interest in education? When did your interest in STEM begin?
I had great science teachers in high school that inspired me to look further into STEM fields. I pursued anthropology in college, which eventually led me to the Orlando Science Center and museum work.
2) What responsibilities does your job entail? What does an average day look like?
My job is about making sure things happen! I coordinate our team of presenters and content creators, which means making schedules, helping people to stay on task, and helping to prototype and develop the programs we do on the floor.
3) Do you have a female role model who inspires you?
I have several! To name a few – Dr. Margaret Mead, a prolific anthropologist who faced and overcame sexism throughout her career; Dr. Lindsey Doe, who works with YouTube content creators to provide accessible and comprehensive sex education; & my college professors, Dr. Sandra Wheeler & Dr. Lana Williams, who are incredibly accomplished bioarchaeologists and still so open and encouraging with their students.
4) What kind of obstacles have you faced getting to where you are now?
Any woman in a STEM field faces adversity. Gender stereotypes can give people a narrow viewpoint. I have been very fortunate to work with people who are open to change and committed to representation and creating opportunity – not only for women but for people of color, queer people, and differently abled people.
5) What milestones have you already reached or are you currently moving towards?
I am extremely passionate about inclusivity, and I am proud to have established our organization’s first visitor experience specific inclusivity workshops.
6) If you could go back and tell your younger version of yourself one thing, what would it be?
You are capable, so be confident!
7) How has JetBlue affected you and the work that you do?
Beyond being my favorite airline for flying to other museums, JetBlue has been an inspiration in the way that they value STEM education, particularly for young women. One of my favorite things about being a woman in STEM is that I get to be a possibility model – I show young women that they can do this too.
8) What advice you have for someone who wants to be in your role or STEM career field?
For STEM museum work, it is important to have both a background in science & the ability to communicate well with other people – guests and staff alike. Education, science communication, and interpretation courses are out there, and they make a huge difference when you apply for jobs.
9) Why do you think girls/women are underrepresented in the field?
There is still this idea in our culture that STEM fields are for men, which just is not true. People still think of “scientists” as old white men in a lab, but scientists can look like anyone and come from anywhere. We need to believe in and invest in our young women, tell them that they are capable, and show them that we need them in STEM fields.
10) How can we get more girls interested and excited in STEM?
Girls are already interested in STEM! We need to welcome them into the field. Representation is so important – give young women role models in STEM who are women, who look like them, who share their interests.