Young Bug Lover Helps Write Scientific Thesis

Kids these days are ditching Playstations for programming tools, priding themselves on being the smartest generation yet. However, there are some who prefer going back to basics. Classmates bullied 8-year-old Sophia Spencer for her obsession with bugs. The young bug lover got back at her tormenters, co-writing a paper in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

“I really thought loving bugs wasn’t the best hobby,” [said Sophia] “But 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.’”

This kid is more self-aware than I am. Sophia’s passion inspired mom Nicole to contact the Entomological Society of Canada for advice. The group tweeted Spencer’s plea, garnering replies from bug enthusiasts all over the world. Eventually, Ph.D. candidate Morgan Jackson invited Sophia to help compose a scientific thesis promoting women in science.

“It felt good to have so many people support me, and it was cool to see other girls and grown-ups studying bugs,” she wrote. “It made me feel like I could do it too, and I definitely, definitely, definitely want to study bugs when I grow up, probably grasshoppers.”

Sophia’s contribution to a cool scientific thesis at age 8 is living proof that one’s interests are never age nor gender-specific. So a word to parents — encourage your children’s passions, even when it seems “weird” or “gross” or “not for boys/girls.” The era we live in nurtures a plethora of possibilities, and so should you.

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Fine Arts Museum’s Newest Employee Is A Puppy

Most working dogs toil alongside cops or therapists for their impeccable sense of smell. Others end up in various unique circumstances, sometimes sniffing out pests in greenhouses. For some, a soft, wet nose leads to the job of a lifetime. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston recently employed Weimaraner puppy Riley to protect its paintings from pesky bugs.

“We have lots of things that bring, by their very nature, bugs or pests with them,” said Katie Getchell… deputy director of the Museum of Fine Arts. “If he can be trained to sit down in front of an object that he smells a bug in, that we can’t smell or see, then we could take that object, inspect it, and figure out what’s going on — that would be remarkable in terms of preserving objects.”

At only twelve-weeks-old, the adorable pup is already making more headway than most. He is working in tandem with the museum’s regular inspection protocols — only he’s a lot cuter.

“Pests are an ongoing concern for museums,” Getchell said. “It’s exciting to think about this as a new way to address the problem.”

Boston Museum, are you sure your main attraction isn’t a four-legged, floppy-eared painting protector?

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