It took a cat to make Peg
Bolick decide what she wanted to do with her life.
She knew she was interested in science. As early as ages six
and seven, Peg and a younger brother "went through the dinosaur
crazy stage" reading about dinosaurs and drawing dinosaurs
in crayon on the driveway and sidewalk in front of their house
in the suburbs of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Then when Peg was 13, a Sunday school teacher who didn't think
the science of evolution was at odds with religion got her really
interested in how animals and plants gradually changed to become
the forms of life they are today.
Peg's uncle, who did research to predict tropical storms, encouraged
her interest in science. In high school, she had "an absolutely
brilliant" chemistry and physics teacher whose love of science
"was very contagious," she says. In college, she really
enjoyed freshman biology.
But then came college sophomore anatomy. She had to choose between
anatomy of vertebrate animals, which would mean having to dissect
a cat, or plant anatomy. And Peg decided right then and there
to become a botanist -- a scientist who works with plants.
"This is an alternative to killing and cutting up animals,"
she says. "You can study evolution either way" -- by
studying plants or animals.
Today Margaret (Peg) Bolick, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and
Curator of Botany at the University of Nebraska State Museum in
Lincoln, Nebraska. Being curator of botany means she manages the
museum's plant collection, plans exhibits about plants for museum
visitors, and writes articles for the public. As an associate
professor, she does research on pollen, teaches and writes for
Peg in grade school, age 7
Photo courtesy of Peg Bolick
(excerpted from the biography written by Mary Knudson.
The entire biography is available on the Pollen Detective CD-ROM.)