COME ON! The environment needs advocates regardless of the color or gender, my work supersedes race and it’s really time everyone got on board with that.
Who is Dr. Tiara Moore?
Hello, I’m Tiara Moore a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Washington + The Nature Conservancy. I am trained as a marine scientist, but my current research is using environmental DNA to assess ecosystem biodiversity across different ecosystems.
How did you choose to pursue this field?
After deciding pre-med wasn’t for me, I took a field marine ecology class and fell in love! I found a MS program that would accept me and continued doing marine/environmental science.
Who was your inspiration or role model that guided you to this field?
The inspiration came from being in the field and collecting water and doing experiments, all while having senior scientists there…I was shook. Like this is a real job? I have to do this!
Did you always have the desire to work in this field? If not, what was your intended field? Why did you change careers?
I originally wanted to be a pediatrician, but realized while in undergrad that I actually didn’t like kids that much! A tropical ecology class and fieldwork in Costa Rica led to my passion for marine science.
What do you love most about your job?
I have the ability to literally ask a question, go collect samples, bring them to my lab and answer it!
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?
Representation. Being a black female marine scientist is rare, but now I have the opportunity to show other little black girls the way. I get to be the one black scientist they see and can look up to. I wanted that so much for myself growing up. I can’t think of a greater reward than to be able to give that to others.
What things would you change about your job?
The amount of diversity! Or just the stigma that black people don’t swim. Or that you even need to know how to swim to be a marine scientist (you don’t!)
What has been the most difficult or disappointing aspect of your job?
Navigating the spaces that weren’t made for a black female marine scientist.
How have you combated the stigma of being a “woman of color” in STEM?
Hmm, what stigma? I think I personally aim to be me in every situation, in the classroom, lab, conferences, field, etc. My personality shines, and my work always speaks for itself so I have grown comfortable being a “WOC” in STEM…Is that what you mean?
What tips would you offer for anyone thinking about entering into your profession?
COME ON! The environment needs advocates regardless of the color or gender, my work supersedes race and it is really time everyone got on board with that.
What advice would you give your younger self about your career journey as a “woman of color” working in a predominantly white, male-dominated field?
Girl, these folks are going to try you, BUT be YOU. There is no “white” way to be a scientist. There is your way and you have to figure out what you’re passionate about because that is the only thing that will drive your science. Trying to fit in gets old. Stand out and be outstanding.
Can you provide some words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field as a career choice?
I think this is the perfect time for young women to choose STEM. WE have done some work for y’all and it’s not as bad as it was, girls!!! Honestly, though, we need female scientists. We think about things differently and we offer different perspectives and cultural views. There is room for us all.
What is your favorite Quote? How do you apply this to your life?
This recently became my favorite since her passing. “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” -Toni Morrison. As a marine scientist trying to conserve and save our oceans/biodiversity/ecosystems this quote means so much. Like the water knows what quality it should be, but we messed it up and it’s just trying to get back. As a scientist, I can help it every day to get a little closer.
What are your future goals related to your career?
My future goal is to run my own lab and ultimately become the director of a government, non-profit or NGO.
How has your family influenced your journey and provide support?
I was raised by my grandmother and was the first in my family to graduate from college and receive a Ph.D. I think our lack of means definitely fueled my desire for academic excellence. I wanted to have more and I didn’t want my kids to know that struggle…
What are some interesting facts about yourself that you would like to share?
I’m a scientific scuba diver, originally from South Carolina and I do stand-up comedy on the low low.
Contact Tiara Moore for any further questions:
We hope you enjoyed learning about our latest “STEMsation”, please comment about how her experiences have inspired you, how your experiences can inspire others and nominate our next “STEMsation to spotlight their amazing accomplishments.