Estella Atekwana grew up in Cameroon. “My parents very much wanted me to do medicine,” she writes.
“So I got into sciences with that intention. However, I took a course in geology in high school and the teacher indicated that geology was not for girls. I was challenged then to demonstrate that girls could do geology and perform the same as boys or even better. I ended up with the science award that year in chemistry, biology, and geology.”
Image 1: Professor Estella Atekwana teaches Potential Field Methods at Oklahoma State University via Training Tomorrow’s Geoscientists
Image 2: University of Oklahoma seismologist Katie Keranen and Oklahoma State University geophysicist Estella Atekwana install a seismometer following a series of earlier quakes. (Shannon Dulin) via Fracking Spurred Biggest Earthquake Yet
She moved to North America to study the geosciences, earning a bachelor’s and master’s in geology from Howard University and a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University in Canada. “Today, they call me Doctor and that’s fine with my parents.”
She is now Sun Chair at Oklahoma State University, where she is a leader in the new field of biogeophysics [Biogeophysics is a subdiscipline of geophysics concerned with how plants, microbial activity and other organisms alter geologic materials and affect geophysical signatures.].