Meet Amber Michels, Masters student studying vertebrate paleontology

"My name is Amber Michels and I am a graduate student working toward finishing my Master's of Geoscience degree (with an emphasis in Vertebrate Paleontology) at Fort Hays State University. My thesis topic is over the trophic ecology of ray-finned fish from the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway.

Growing up I always had a love for science, paleontology, and playing in the dirt. I had watched the dinosaur movies and prehistoric documentaries. I had read the books in the school's library. All the while never really seeing anyone that looked 'like me'. Still, I wanted to be a paleontologist before I really knew that it was possible.

In high school, I was lucky enough to attend a school that had earth science as part of the required curriculum being taught by a teacher that was truly passionate about the earth sciences.

I earned my B.S in Geology, but it wasn't until I began looking for graduate programs in paleontology that I began to see that this may actually be an obtainable dream that's not just for the movies.

Throughout my graduate career I have begun to see more outreach, more diversity, and more overall representation among the geoscience community, but it is still lacking. I'm grateful for communities and organizations like this that are helping to showcase that the geosciences are only strengthened by our differences, and that we as a community can always strive to be more inclusive."

- Amber Michels (she/her)

Instagram: @_fossilized.tree.resin