Two years ago, Sophia Spencer was just an eight-year old amateur entomologist, and was constantly teased by her schoolmates for her unusual hobby of loving some insects.
She often shows off her latest bug find, but most kids find her weird and strange.
Her mother, Nicole Spencer, was afraid that her daughter might feel discouraged from pursuing her passion with insects, so she reached out to the scientists from Entomological Society of Canada.
“She is often teased at school by her peers, because she will proudly display her current bug friend on her shoulder,” Nicole wrote in the letter. “I was wondering if a professional entomologist would speak to her over the phone to encourage her love and explain to her how she could make this into a career.”
The letter was posted on Twitter, which was shared a thousand times, and the “science experts” poured their admiration for the little girl and shared encouraging words.
“After I realized bugs are for girls, I thought to myself, ‘Well, I think I should start loving bugs again, because just because people say they’re weird and gross doesn’t mean I shouldn’t like them,” Sophia told NPR in an interview.
Sophia’s story inspired Morgan D. Jackson, a PhD student who runs the Twitter account of Entomological Society of Canada, to write a research paper about the “scientific societies using social media, and the promotion of women in science.”
A year later, Sophie has been cited as the co-author in Jackson’s research paper, which was published in the latest edition of the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
“It felt good to have so many people to support me, and it was cool to see other girls and grown-ups studying bugs,” Sophia added. “It made me feel like I could do it too.”
– Zebra’s stripes has nothing to do with camouflage, research shows
– Female termites do not need males to reproduce, scientists discover
– Sun bears’ facial mimicry reveals unexpected social skill