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The Zoo is closed today due to icy conditions.

If/Then

IF/THEN®

THIS IS WHAT A SCIENTIST LOOKS LIKE

Meet our IF/THEN® ambassadors

The Wilds of Africa tunnel has a fresh new look! The striking, 333-foot-long mural features 12 amazing women who are making a difference in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Their work promotes conservation, advances research, educates the public, and inspires those around them.

This temporary installation is generously funded by a grant from the Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ IF/THEN® Fund at Texas Women’s Foundation.

Section of the mural

IF she can see it…THEN she can be it

Rae Wynn-Grant

Large Carnivore Ecologist
“I was born in an urban center, and I loved watching TV – in particular, nature shows. I wanted to do exactly what those nature show hosts did. However, I didn’t necessarily see myself represented in that. I was so different from those TV hosts that I saw.”

Shana Fredlake

Dallas Zoo Herpetologist
“The herpetology space is male-dominated, so as a female who has done successful conservation work with several different species, I know my passion and dedication are worth it because I’m setting an example for the next generation.”

Kristen Lear

Bat Conservationist
“My high school biology teacher would never give us the answer outright if we had a question. He would ask, ‘What do you think?’ And so I think that mindset, of thinking for yourself and thinking through critical problems, was what made me become a scientist.”

Lindsey Rustad

Research Ecologist
“I think what I would tell my younger self might be to have more patience and to realize that you’re going to have ups and downs. Hang in there. Keep at it. And be persistent. For those kids, or adults – K through gray! – who might not think of themselves as a STEM person, we can take that same data and present it to them as art and music, and have them share the excitement that we have in the data.”

Cassandra Reid

Dallas Zoo Veterinary Technician
“Throughout my time at the Dallas Zoo, I’ve worked with some incredible animals and even had the chance to travel into the field to help with conservation projects in Madagascar and South Africa. I believe that now, more than ever, we all play an important role in helping to preserve wildlife.”

Jess Cramp

Shark Researcher
“There are a lot of problems on the planet that require solutions. In order to find those solutions, we need people who like to collaborate. We need critical thinkers. And we need creativity.”

Ronda Hamm

Educator/Entomologist
“As a little girl, insects were not my favorite thing… Most of the time, fear comes from misunderstanding. But the more you ask questions and start to understand a creature, the less scary it becomes. So your fear could turn to fascination, just like mine did.” 

Dianne Rivas

Dallas Zoo Interpretive Specialist
“Visiting the Dallas Zoo as a child gave me so many wonderful opportunities to see animals in their natural environment. Now, I’m proud to teach others about their amazing adaptations and inspire them to be advocates for wildlife to make sure they will be here for generations to come.”

Jo Varner

Pika Biologist/Citizen Science Educator
“I had this total ‘ah-ha’ moment that there’s this whole group of people out there that are called ecologists. They work in nature, and they go hiking and camping, and they watch these adorable animals (pika) run around. And it’s science. I was like, I do that stuff for fun anyway!”

Kellyn LaCour-Conant

Restoration Ecologist
“I like connecting with community members who might not come from a scientific background but who are invested in coastal restoration. I like merging our strengths and our power together to create new solutions to the problems that we’re facing.”

Danae Jackson

Dallas Zoo Zoologist
“I always knew I wanted to work with animals, so I began volunteering at the Dallas Zoo when I was 14 years old. I’ve since become a zoologist and plan to pursue a leadership role in this field. To other women pursuing careers in zoology – keep working hard, and don’t lose sight of your goals. We need strong, educated women just like you!”

Samantha Porter

Digital Archeologist
“People think that scientists know what we’re doing all the time, and we don’t! That’s why we’re doing science. That’s why we’re asking questions because we don’t know the answers. We’re working to use experimentation to test things out, and that’s how we get things done.”