Pod of the Week - Moab

Our advice to new pods is to make sure all you take on is sustainable and focus on the needs of your community and region -- delegate, pace your projects, check-in with your members, work for each other, and have fun with it.  Anyone who is coming through Moab who wants to meet up, reach out! We’d love to meet you! - 500WS Moab Pod

Thursdays, we highlight our 500 Women Scientists local pods for two main reasons: to show off how awesome the women in 500WS are AND to learn from each other - each pod is different and can provide insights based on their own unique experiences. This week, we are excited to introduce the Moab pod. Not only do they have great advice, but these women clearly demonstrate what it means to create a pod with specific community needs in mind. Thanks so much ladies!

Location: Southeast Utah (Moab)

Number of women: 42

Frequency of meeting: Monthly

Our Mission:

  • To share the importance of science.

  • To support one another as a community of women scientists in Southeast Utah.

  • To be in service in the name of science to the communities of Southeast Utah.

Our Values

  • Being a supportive group for women scientists in Southeast Utah

  • Advocate for inclusivity in our group and in science at large

  • Increase scientific literacy for locals and tourists

  • Mentor and support students of science


How did you come to this mission, why is it relevant to your city and state?

Our mission and values statements were created over the course of multiple meetings, during which members of the pod voiced why this group was important to them and what they believed it could do for our small community. When building our mission and values statements, we ended up focusing on two main points -- engagement with our local community and the many tourists who visit here (Southeast Utah is a tourist Mecca), and supporting one another as a group of women scientists. We saw our pod as a way to bring together the many government agencies, nonprofits, private companies, and individuals working within science in our area. We also saw our pod as a vehicle for sharing our knowledge and passions with our rural community and a space for sharing our successes and struggles with one another. We feel that our mission and values statements are reflections of what is important to us a group and creating these statements as a pod brought us together as we embarked on this new and needed community endeavor.   

How have you grown your pod and ensured a diverse group of women scientists attend the pod meetings?

As the founders of the pod, Kristina (an ecologist), and Hannah (an archaeologist) started with our professional and friend networks in Moab and surrounding areas.  We encouraged the women we knew to invite other women in the region. While our pod is primarily situated in Moab, Utah, we cater to all of Southeast Utah and indeed have active members from nearby towns.  Including them under the umbrella of Southeast Utah was really important to us as a rural pod. We are lucky that, despite being a rural area, there are a diversity of scientific pursuits in our community. As a result, our group represents the sundry of scientific professions in Southeast Utah including educators, wildlife and plant biologists, land managers, climate scientists, archaeologists and others.  We also run the gambit from students and interns to retired women scientists. We have recently realized a blindspot in our early recruitment, one that we hope to rectify in advance of our next meeting-- women who work in medical fields. We are constantly on the lookout for new women in science in our community who might be interested in joining and enriching our pod.


Can you talk about your past activities/successes, any favorites you want to share, and how they are important to your community?

The Southeast Utah Pod started in March of this year.  Our major success to date has been connecting the incredible women who work in science in our region.  During our meetings we have come to find comradery in our passion for science and our shared love for where we live.  A place to connect over good, homemade food (the potluck is a staple of our meetings), while talking about the needs of our community, our professional triumphs and complaints, the state of science at the local, state, and national level, and our lives as women had previously been missing Southeast Utah.  Building this group as a safe place for each other and an outlet for what we want to see happen for science and women in our community has so far been our greatest success.

What future plans to does your pod have?

We have laid out some very ambitious plans for ourselves.  In the first week of October, the Southeast Utah pod will be at two events for the Moab Festival of Science.  In November, we will be partnering with other regional pods to have a table at the Great Basin Anthropological Conference.  In the coming year, we will be writing monthly articles in a local periodical about regional science, taking over an annual event that teaches outdoor recreation guides about up-to-date science in our region, and looking for ways to engage middle school and high school girls in science and science based careers.  We have an excited and active pod with lots to contribute!

If you have a specific project you worked on we would love to hear about it, and tips to share with other new pods.  

We like to think that our pod and our area is unique.  We are rural, we have a lot of members who work for federal and state agencies, we are situated in a place that over a million people come through every year to mountain bike, climb, raft, hike, off-road, etc.  We have tailored our pod to meet the needs of our members and our place. Given that, our advice to new pods is to make sure all you take on is sustainable and focus on the needs of your community and region -- delegate, pace your projects, check-in with your members, work for each other, and have fun with it.  Anyone who is coming through Moab who wants to meet up, reach out! We’d love to meet you!

Pod Leaders: Hannah Russell - Archaeologist & Kristina Young -Ecologist