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The Kalispel Tribe owns and operates more than a dozen businesses and enterprises in and around the Pend Oreille area.

We believe in building a strong community and our economic development opportunites emphasize our commitment to the land and people.

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

By February 11, 2024 No Comments

February 11th is the annual observance of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which aims to promote increasing the presence of women in STEM fields, which are traditionally male-dominated. The Kalispel Tribe believes in equal opportunity for all genders and has a long history of inclusion, including in our Kalispel Natural Resources department. Today, and every day, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of women past and present by highlighting a few of our current female colleagues and the role each plays in the work we do.

To learn more about the Kalispel Natural Resources programs, please visit knrd.org

Interested in working with KNRD? To view current job postings, click here

Kendra, Archaeologist

B.S. Anthropology, Eastern Washington University

M.S. Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University

 

What does your day-to-day look like?

My day-to-day has a lot of variability. My field days in the spring, summer, and fall are spent largely outside, either surveying and hiking in the forest for timber sales, walking along the Pend Oreille River to check on and monitor archaeological sites, or excavating an archaeological site. Other days are spent in an office working on reports, maps, or research. Still, others might be going to talk with students, attending conferences, or participating in outreach events to talk about archaeology.

Why did you choose the field you’re in?

I initially chose this field because it was an opportunity to be outside, to spend my day hiking and out in the woods. I chose to stay in this field because I still love working outside and playing in the dirt. However, it has grown to be a much more meaningful career than I could have ever imagined. I stay in this field because I work for the Kalispel Tribe, and it is a privilege and honor to work on understanding the Tribe’s prehistory. I stay in this field because I am challenged in different ways every day, whether that is learning new mapping software or a new ground penetrating radar system, reading and interpreting lab reports, or collaborating with others in our department on approaches to conserve archaeology. I stay in this field because I get to be a part of a multi-disciplinary department where I am considered part of a team, where archaeology is connected to all the other sciences that are a part of natural resources.  I choose to stay in this field because I believe archaeology and our efforts are important, and that understanding the past and protecting the past is meaningful for future generations.

What would you say to someone interested in pursuing a career in your field?

Consider why you want to pursue archaeology, and what is it that fascinates or intrigues you. Consider the education and training needed, and look for opportunities to volunteer or gain field experience. Go after it, work for it, find your passion, and hold on. Be true to yourself, be confident, and advocate for yourself and other women.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in science?

Being a woman in science means being an individual, it will look and sound different to every person. A woman in science does not need to fit any molds – we don’t need to dress or speak in a particular way. I do not wear a lab coat.

Being a woman in science means being open and honest, telling your story, and working to dispose of myths and misconceptions about women in these fields.

Being a woman in science means listening and speaking up, it means being flexible and dynamic.

Is there someone who has inspired you along your journey?

My parents inspired me to work hard, to commit, to try – and they have supported me every step of my journey, from student loans to a career with an unknown future, but they always supported my passion and drive.

My grandma is a big inspiration and role model, she is something that I want to emulate and make proud. I have a huge amount of admiration for her, and the tough choices that she had to make. She has worked immensely hard her entire life, raising children, opening her own business, hunting, and fishing, building her own cabin, running a mule ranch, and nothing will stop her. She challenges herself and holds others accountable. She is brave, strong, loving, kind, patient, and generous. She never stops trying and always looks for a way.

My mom, my two sisters, grandmothers, aunts, and cousins have all given me the strength to pursue my professional career and my position as a mom. I am fortunate to have encouraging, supportive, and positive women in my life. And I strive to be that for others.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career thus far?

One of the most rewarding parts of my job has come from a not so “science-y” aspect of my work. This has been working with the Language Department, specifically Jessie Isadore, in developing outreach and educational materials that are designed for children to appreciate the importance and value of natural and cultural resources. This connection between archaeology and the community is the absolute highlight of my position, it is rewarding to hear that these products can be used in classrooms and by families. This type of work, giving or providing something real, brings me happiness.

 

Molly, Fisheries Habitat Biologist

B.S. Biology, Eastern Washington University

 

What does your day-to-day look like?

My day-to-day during the winter is not very glamorous- it consists of a lot of time sitting behind a computer, crunching numbers, writing reports, and preparing for meetings. It is an essential part of implementing responsible projects but not exciting at all. However, during the field season I get to work, I grab my gear and head out to whatever creek I am working in that day! It can vary from checking in-stream traps for migrating cutthroat trout to backpack electrofishing to remove invasive brook trout.  During the summer I camp on location in the Salmo wilderness with my crew. So those days we all have breakfast together and then get ready for the day. We will spend all day out shocking the creeks to remove brook trout and then at the end of the day we have dinner and sit around the fire and talk about the best moments from that day.

Why did you choose the field you’re in?

I grew up in a very outdoorsy family. We spent a lot of time camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, etc. It was instilled in me from a young age to respect and care for our natural resources otherwise there wouldn’t be anything to pass on to future generations. I find the job to be very rewarding and I know at the end of my career I will be able to hang my hat proudly on the work that I have done to better the world.

What would you say to someone interested in pursuing a career in your field?

Don’t doubt yourself so much. No one ever starts as an expert in any field so you may as well try and learn new skills to better yourself. You should not be afraid of failure- you should only be afraid of not trying. Women specifically, do not be afraid to take up space and use their voice. Your opinions are just as important as any other person’s, and you deserve to sit at the table with everyone else.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in science?

It means continuing to pave the path for future generations and using your unique perspective to find creative solutions to problems.

Is there someone who has inspired you along your journey?

My mom of course. She’s one of the most intelligent and strongest-willed individuals I have ever met and never afraid to get her hands dirty. She helped foster my curiosity when I was growing up and was very patient when I asked her a million questions in a row about the world and how it works.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career thus far?

I love working with our seasonal technicians and seeing them go on to advance their careers. Many of them get permanent jobs in the field and do amazing things. The other very rewarding part of my career thus so far has been that we have been able to bolster the populations of Westslope Cutthroat trout in the Sullivan Creek drainage by a measure of a few thousand fish!

 

Makayla, Forestry Technician

A.A.S. Natural Resource Management and Fish & Wildlife, Spokane Community College

 

What does your day-to-day look like?

My job is different every day which is one of the coolest things. When I’m out in the woods, most of the time is spent painting trees to be harvested or marking the trees that we want to be saved. I have also gotten to spend my lunch picking huckleberries and thimbleberries while trying to avoid bears. I’ve spent the day just walking through the woods seeing if we should harvest that area and talk about what trees we would cut down to make a healthier forest, while also doing some shed hunting. There’s just a variety of things that you do in forestry. It’s so different every single day.

Why did you choose the field you’re in?

Well apparently, the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime and if I have to spend that working, I want to be working out in the woods. Another reason I chose this field is because I wanted to do something that enjoy doing each day.

What would you say to someone interested in pursuing a career in your field?

If being outside is something that makes you happy, then you should do it. If you like discovering new places every day and seeing wildlife and walking through the woods, then you should do it. The fact that you get paid to go run around in the woods every day is so worth it.

Everyone that I have worked with in natural resources always says that even on the worst days it could always be worse because you could be stuck in an office. Even when you are cold and soaking wet for 8 out of the 10-hour days or it’s 95 degrees packing a 45-pound pack for 3 miles into the woods, it still beats working in the office.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in science?

For me just being able to get paid to run around in the woods is great. Yeah, there are some challenges but at the end of the day, the love I have for being outside outweighs it all.

Is there someone who has inspired you along your journey?

Honestly, all the women that I have worked with over the years have inspired me. But a group of girls that I worked with in Montana was probably the most inspiring to me. There were four of us, all women, which is very uncommon and I’m pretty sure we were the first group of all girls to work in that department, which was cool. Being able to share our love for the outdoors and build each other up each day was amazing and so rewarding. The amount of fun and laughter we had was so great. Everyone could always tell when we were in the office because all of us were always finding something to laugh about. It was by far one of my favorite summer jobs!

What has been the most rewarding part of your career thus far?

The most rewarding part of my career so far is being able to work with some really amazing people who also share the love for the outdoors. Also, their willingness to teach me and others new things. And if you didn’t know being able to work outside is also pretty great!

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