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April 2, 2021 at 1:38 pm

Stigall Discusses Gender in Geology in ‘Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology’

Dr. Alycia Stigall is among women geologists—from the early trailblazers to today’s prominent scientists—featured in a new Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology exhibit at the Museum of the Earth, which includes a focus on gendered issues within the field of geology.

Stigall is professor and chair of Geological Sciences at Ohio University who specializes in looking at the relationship between biogeography, macro-evolution and paleo-ecology.

In addition to a physical exhibit at the museum in Ithaca, N.Y., a robust online portion includes dozens of profiles and videos. In her video, Stigall talks about her journey and the issues she had to overcome—from whether women could conduct fieldwork on their own in grad school to trusting those who come forward to report harassment to biases still prevalent in other countries. She said she often reaches out to women graduate students in other countries, “Because I felt alone when I was starting, and in their country they’re even more alone.”

selfie of Alycia Stigall with the OsloFjord in the background

Dr. Stigall with ordovician rocks, containing brachiopods, at the Oslo Fjord, Norway

“I think the position for women and under-represented groups is improving. Faster for women…. The fact that we are having these conversations. We’ve been having them now for 10 years. As all of these efforts kind of snowball and expand, we’re just getting to a better and better place — with more voices, more opinions, and more approaches to science, which is just going to be fantastic.

Stigall continues to work on expanding diversity and inclusion in the geosciences as a member of the Paleontological Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and here on campus alongside other Geological Sciences faculty members who are working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in their department via the NSF funded Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE) program.

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