Meet Crystal Cortez, museum curator

"Hi, I'm Crystal Cortez, Curator of Earth Sciences at the San Bernardino County Museum. I first feel in love with geology in high school where I was fortunate enough to take a class in Earth Science. At first I wasn't sure if geology was going to be a good fit for me but then it happened. I took my first geology trip to the Mojave desert where we spent 3 days rummaging through shale for trilobites and uncovering the deserts wonder. I has hooked. I attended Community College before transferring to CSU Fullerton where earned a B.S. in Geology with a focus in paleontology, and an M.S in Environmental studies. Throughout my academic career, I participated in museum and international internships that really helped spearhead my paleontology career. Now, as a curator, I manage a large collection of geological and paleontological specimens with the help of a small army of volunteers and student interns.

I never imagined being here, a scientist and a museum curator. Growing up in East LA to immigrant parents, the idea of ever being a scientist always seemed so farfetched to me. Society and pop culture, had instilled in a me the idea that I would never be anything more than a poor brown girl translating for her parents yet here we are. As curator, I have had dozens of students intern with me and they always seem surprised to see me sitting at the end of the table. I strive to breakdown preconceived notions of what a scientists should be like, to help elevate the voices seldom heard, and to bring strength and unity to our community. Because a great scientist can come from anywhere they just need opportunity to be seen."

- Crystal Cortez (she/her)

Instagram: @paleocrystal