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UI Member Spotlight: Beth Hoots

By: Ixchel Urbano, SDSU Chapter Member

Meet the very driven and intelligent Beth Hoots, a senior at the University of Idaho. Beth is a double-major in Ecology and Conservation Biology, and Spanish. Her career goal is to work as a researcher conserving the marine invertebrates that make up the base of some of the trophic webs that are most threatened from climate change. Her dream job is to run a lab group at a Sea Grant university, but in the short term she wants to focus on obtaining her graduate degree. In addition to her very inspiring goals, Beth is a rescue-certified SCUBA diver, and has dived in four countries to date! Beth has loved being a part of WSS and her college journey has certainly been influenced by her love for science.

Beth joined WSS the year the University of Idaho Chapter was founded. When she joined, she had just finished a summer working as part of an all-woman team of ecology researchers from her university on a project to study the biodiversity of the Loja watershed in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. That was Beth’s first real college research experience, and she recalls how grateful she was to her co-researchers for the patience, leadership, and sisterhood they shared with her during that experience. Beth felt that in joining WSS, she would have the opportunity to pay forward the encouragement and support she received from the women on her research team by being a friend, mentor, and sister to other women in STEM on her campus.

Beth describes how WSS has pushed her to have more confidence and go after opportunities that she otherwise would not have. Beth is currently the President of the Moscow, Idaho, Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology. She credits WSS for significantly influencing her leadership skills. When she became president, Beth knew that she wanted to build the same kind of inclusive and supportive community that WSS created, for a group of people who were all passionate about preserving biodiversity. 

Outside of her extracurriculars Beth is deeply passionate about conservation biology. Through undergraduate research she has been able to design and carry out her own ecological research project to study the impacts of climate change on an insect living in the north Idaho lakes. Through this research, Beth received a Goldwater scholarship for her project, and will be presenting her findings in her honors thesis at the end of the semester. She is also currently working as a research assistant in a conservation genomics lab— an opportunity she specifically pursued because of encouragement from people she met through WSS! 

Beth’s best piece of advice to her fellow WSS peers is to not be afraid to hone in on your interests outside of STEM. Some of the best opportunities Beth has had in ecology came from her love of studying languages. Beth mentions that if you are an artist, an athlete, a storyteller, a passionate advocate, or anything else, be sure to let that part of your personality shine. Nurturing your interests outside of STEM will help you stand out as a candidate for jobs, and are invaluable to creating that work-life balance we all strive for. It is essential to always create space for what makes you happy!

As a nostalgic senior, Beth describes how grateful she is to WSS for its empowering message, the friends she has made, and the support system. She is very proud of all of the women in her chapter for the amazing work they do, and describes how there is no better feeling than celebrating all of the ups and downs that a university education brings with her WSS community. The Women in Science Society is extremely proud of Beth’s accomplishments and is happy to have had an impact during her undergraduate years!