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Jessie Creamean
Katie Valentine

Jessie Creamean

Dr. Jessie Creamean currently works at Colorado State University, and until 2018 worked at NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)  in Boulder, Colorado. Her work focuses on NOAA-based missions on icebreakers in the Arctic. 

What drew you to your current career or field?

I was always interested in science and specifically, environmental science and how humans are impacting the planet. I became interested in the Arctic because it is changing faster than anywhere else in the world, yet we know relatively little about the changes happening there.

What projects or research are you working on now?

I am currently working on several Arctic-based projects focusing on how aerosol particles from natural sources like the ocean and from human-based activities impact Arctic clouds. Aerosol particles act like seeds for clouds to form and grow on, but our current understanding of this process is very limited. More specifically, my research is focused on evaluating the sources of certain marine microbes and dust from land, and how these particles make it into the atmosphere where they can affect how ice crystals form in Arctic clouds.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

My job has so many positive aspects. Probably the biggest one is traveling to so many interesting places and meeting people from all over the world – from different backgrounds, cultures, and different research interests. Traveling for field experiments in the Arctic has been an incredible experience that I hope to continue throughout my career. I also enjoy working in collaborative, interdisciplinary environments. For example, I get to work with ecologists and oceanographers during my past research cruises, which has been incredibly rewarding.

What was the best advice ever given to you that helped you become successful? 

Networking is crucial. Getting to know other researchers in and outside of your field will provide opportunities, and sometimes, unexpected opportunities. Networking has led to opportunities such as invited talks, and sometimes to very large audiences, and importantly for obtaining my past and current positions at NOAA and CSU. 

What’s been your favorite (or proudest) moment in your career so far? 

Probably publishing one of my first papers in Science. I have received quite a bit of recognition for that paper. To this day, I meet fellow researchers who know me by name from that one paper. It makes me proud that the hard work I put into developing a cohesive, high impact story has reached a wide audience and that people care about it.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future? What do you hope the future for women in science looks like?

To become a top, successful female Arctic researcher that young women can look up to for inspiration. In my experience, it is great to see so many women becoming interested in science since starting my career, and I hope women continue to grow in the sciences in the years to come. It would be great if more and more women become top researchers in their field in the future, but also provide support and motivation for one another to achieve that success. It is so important to not only develop one’s own success, but to help the younger generations of women in STEM. I am involved with several programs that have supported mentoring women in STEM, and it has been so rewarding to teach and motivate early career female scientists. I hope there are even more opportunities for women in science in the years to come!

What advice would you give to a woman just starting out in her career?

Be strong. Be confident. You can make it through the hard times and come out on top. It isn’t always easy being a female in what has traditionally been a male-dominated field. But things are changing. Be supportive of other women in the sciences and work together.

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