Name: Jessie Pearl

Profession: Freshwater Scientist, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Age: 32


What do you do for a living?


I am a scientist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). I think about big questions on how our Earth is changing and how to best preserve our natural resources. I use data collected from the natural environment – trees, soils, water – to understand how our climate is changing, and how we expect hazards like storms, earthquakes, floods, and droughts to change in the future.


What type of training do you need to do your job?


Anyone can be a scientist! Formally, I have a PhD in geosciences. Informally, the best training is getting out with other experts (biologists, hydrologists, ecologists, geologists, etc.) to see how they design experiments, think about problems, and question the world around them.


What’s your favorite part of your job?


I love getting out into the field, I get to explore some incredible places when I collect data! I have collected samples (tree cores, sediment, or water) across the world. I am thrilled when the science I participate in is utilized to inform policy or management practices.


What did you want to be when you were growing up?


I always wanted to go on adventures, climb mountains, travel, try new food. For a long time, I wanted to study penguins in Antarctica!


What advice would you give to a kid who wants to have a similar career?


Any chance you get to accompany someone doing fieldwork, shadow in a lab, or fix something – do it! Join a citizen science campaign to track the seasons, plants, or water flow. Never stop questioning the natural environment and how we can heal our earth.


One fact NOT about your job?


Seeing firsthand some of the devastating impacts of climate change, pollution, and negligence on our natural world is one.