Profile: Jessica Mohlman
Major: biology and natural resources—fisheries and wildlife ecology
Hometown: McHenry, Illinois
Jessica Mohlman’s passion for biology and conservation first started when she was a child.
“While many of my friends dreamt of being princesses and astronauts, I dreamt of being a scientist,” Jessica says. “I dreamt of traveling the world and helping save the planet.”
Jessica began turning the dream into reality with internships with the Round River Conservation Studies Namibia program and The Field Museum in Chicago.
“My time in Africa was the most emotionally, physically, and educationally challenging time in my life and has changed me forever,” Jessica says. “It was the experiences I had during my time there that further reinforced that I was doing exactly what I was meant to do.”
She completed two internships at The Field Museum. Last summer The Field Museum selected her as one of the first Women in Science Undergraduate Research interns working on the Southern Mexican Economic Botany project, a project identifying historical plants in the Oaxaca Valley in Mexico.
“The fact that for the past two summers I spent every day within the establishment that inspired me when I was a child was at times overwhelming, and it was hard to believe I was accomplishing things I dreamed of as a child.”
Jessica will be returning to The Field Museum this summer to work with the curator of African mammals and world-renowned researcher Bruce Patterson on The Bats of Kenya project.
Jessica plans to continue on for a doctorate in conservation and evolutionary biology.
No surprise that as a graduating senior Jessica was selected for the Environmental Science and Natural Resources Faculty Award and the Indelible Mark Award, a Northland College award that recognizes students that best exemplify the spirit and values of the campus by leaving a positive lasting impression on the campus community.
“My father always encouraged me to live my life inspired by the words of Gandhi, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world,’” Jessica says. “I hope to be exactly that.”
As one of the first people in her family to pursue higher education, Jessica says she had to cross a number of barriers. “For a while, I thought my dreams of being a biologist would remain simply that—dreams.”
UPDATE (March 2019): Jessica went on to earn her master in wildlife ecology and management and in March 2019, accepted her dream position as a data specialist for the Bonobo Congo Biodiversity Initiative through the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.