Women in Science

One hundred years ago, on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was signed into law giving female citizens the right to vote. Women’s rights have come a long way since then, but there is still progress to be made. According to an international study of gender bias published in 2015, the stereotype still persists that science is for men.1 Yet science is for everyone.

The National Park Service celebrates the women across the country who are using science to preserve the natural and cultural resources of the National Park System. There are many. Here are the stories of a few of those women who use their knowledge of science and their passion for the environment to make a difference in the national parks of the Great Lakes Network. These pieces were written by our 2020 Great Lakes Research and Education Center Women in Science Intern, Ariana Bulatovich, to celebrate these women, capture their stories, and encourage other women with an interest in science to follow their dreams. We extend our thanks to the Friends of Indiana Dunes for their support of this internship.

1. Miller, D., A. Eagly, and M. Linn. 2015. Women’s Representation in Science Predicts National Gender-Science Stereotypes: Evidence From 66 Nations. Journal of Educational Psychology. American Psychological Association 2015, Vol. 107, No. 3, 631– 644

Julie Christian, Chief of Natural Resources

Julie has a passion for plants and obtained her Master’s degree in botany from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She loves supporting her staff, providing them with what they need to successfully monitor natural resources and sustain the ecosystems at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Katy Goodwin, Resource Biologist

Katy began her work with the National Park Service as an intern at Isle Royale National Park, and now works with the Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network through a partnership with North Dakota University. She loves wildlife and is presently coordinating a project involving the acoustic monitoring of bats!

Brenda LaFrancois, Aquatic Ecologist

Brenda is a Regional Aquatic Ecologist with the National Park Service's
Interior Regions 3, 4, and 5 (Great Lakes, Mississippi, and Missouri Basins). She is passionate about protecting our aquatic resources and helping people understand actions they can take to do the same!

Allie Petersen, Administrative Assistant

Allie is an administrative assistant for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the Wildlife Health Branch of the National Park Service's Biological Resources Division. Her internships with the NPS began during her senior year of college and they really paid off!

Lynette Potvin, Ecologist

Lynette is a vegetation ecologist at Isle Royale National Park. She and her team work to protect the natural resources of the island. This includes monitoring the impacts of major disturbances such as climate change and invasive species on the island’s ecosystems. She even lives on the island for 6 months -a-year.

Julie Van Stappen, Chief of Resource Management

Julie considers her current position as Chief of Resource Management at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to be her dream job! She loves collaborating with NPS staff, tribal partners, researchers, other agency staff and volunteers to steward the park’s amazing resources.

Michelle Verant, Wildlife Veterinarian

Michelle loves wildlife, and takes pride in the work she and her colleagues do with the Wildlife Health Branch of the of the National Park Service's Biological Resources Division. Some of her recent projects involve protecting bats and wolves!

Kathryn McEachern, Research Plant Ecologist

Kathryn loves working as a Research Plant Ecologist with the United States Geological Survey. She conducts research to answer questions national parks and sites from other federal agencies have about their resources, and she loves doing it!

Last updated: December 3, 2020