WiSE Poster Series

Kim Bogenschutz, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

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What is your educational background?

I have a BA in Biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and an MS in Fisheries Science from South Dakota State University in Brookings.

What field do you work in and what sort of activities do you do in a typical day?

I coordinate the statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Program which is within the Fisheries Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. As the program coordinator, I work on boring things like reports, budgets, and hiring but also supervise surveys for aquatic species (e.g., plants, zebra mussels, Asian carp), aquatic invasive species control projects, and public outreach programs. Because invasive species do not stop at state borders, I frequently work with professionals from other state, regional, and national agencies and organizations on aquatic invasive species issues.

What is your favorite part of your career?

The field of aquatic invasive species is constantly developing and changing (e.g., new species being detected, new control options for infestations). I find it extremely interesting to keep current on species, distribution, and research, and meeting and working with people from all over the county who share similar jobs and issues.  I also love getting out and talking to people about aquatic invasive species and what they can do to help protect our natural resources from aquatic invasive species.

Who or what experience(s) inspired you?

I grew up in Minnesota the Land of 10,000 Lakes and spent so much time on the water (fishing, skiing, swimming, floating) that I felt I needed a career that would help protect those lakes and other waters so I could continue to enjoy them. Now, I want to protect them for my daughter and future generations.

Why do you think it’s important for women to enter STEM fields?

Women often think about things differently than men and can contribute a different perspective to STEM fields. Including different perspectives helps improve projects.

Many women initially pursue STEM careers to make a difference in the world (e.g. make things safer, clean water for everyone, finding cure for cancer, etc...)  Describe how your current work/career/position/company is making a difference in the world or your industry/field.

The mission of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is to conserve and enhance our natural resources in cooperation with individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life for Iowans and ensure a legacy for future generations. Specifically, my position is responsible for trying to protect our aquatic resources from invasive species that can have devastating impacts on natural resources and the economy. I work with professionals and the public to keep native species thriving and to reduce the impacts of invasive species on recreation and industry.

Was there an educational experience during college (internship, study abroad, research) that impacted your career goals? 

I knew I wanted a career in biology when I was in college, but I was unsure of a particular field until I had an internship with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Section of Fisheries. I worked on the early phases of restoration project for the Minnesota River and saw the need for people to protect and improve our waters. I was hooked after that and decided to go to graduate school to pursue a career in Fisheries.

What can girls/women do now to prepare for a career in STEM?

Girls/women should enjoy taking all the math and science classes they can while in school and also work on projects (e.g., science fair, 4-H) that let them experience a specific topic more closely to help figure out specific careers they might be interested in. It’s always helpful to volunteer, job shadow, or get other experiences with STEM professionals to learn about careers and meet people who one day may mentor or hire you.

Knowing and having experienced all that you have, what is one piece of advice that would have been encouraging or helpful to know when you were in school?

You do not have to be “one of the guys” or be stereotyped as a science geek to have a successful career in STEM. Show your individuality and personality. It’s your hard work that will make you a success.

Learn more about other women featured in the WiSE Poster Series:

photograph of Amy
photograph of Amy
photograph of Mary
photograph of Colleen
photograph of Kim
photograph of Kendra
Mary Rukashaza
Pella Corporation
Colleen Becker
Rockwell Collins
DeDee Smidt
Principal Financial
Kendra Frazier
Dupont Pioneer

Want more information on finding a STEM career? Check out these links:

For more information contact:

Lora Leigh Chrystal, Director
Program for Women in Science and Engineering
218 Carver Hall
Ames, IA 50011-2060
(515) 294-4317