I had the privilege to talk to two wonderful female NASA scientists last week. On Monday, I spoke to Dr. Elizabeth Rampe. She is a planetary geologist at the Johnson Space Center and is one of the scientists for the Curiosity Rover. She told me about all the exciting stuff her team had found in the Gale Crater. I could see how excited she was when she was talking about Mars. It reminded me when I start talking about Mars so I totally get why she got so happy. There is just something about Mars that excites everyone. After this, she told me about what she went through in college and graduate school. Based off of her experience, she provided me with some great advice. Since she is a geologist, I had to ask her a big bang theory question. I know this may seem off topic but big bang theory is a show that all scientists watch. In the TV show, Sheldon often denotes geology as a useless field. With that said, I asked Dr. Rampe what she would say to Sheldon if she meets him. Dr. Rampe told me that she would tell Sheldon that geology is our only way of mapping out our past. We can't use theoretical physics to figure out if Mars' was once potentially habitable. As she said this, I pictured Sheldon twitching. Overall, my interview with Dr. Rampe was amazing and I can't wait to see her in March. A few days later, I got to talk to Dr. Kathryn Bywaters. She is currently an astrobiologist at the NASA Ames Research Center and also the SETI Institute. Unlike most scientists, Dr. Bywaters had a very nontraditional education. When she was in sixth grade, she moved to Russia and her education stopped. After living in Russia, she moved to France and then later came back to the United States. Even though she wasn't going to school every day, she kept on reading. While she was in community college, she took a biology class and absolutely loved it and that is where her passion for science began. As her passion grew, she went on to do some amazing stuff. One thing that I found amazing about her is that she is both a scientist and a published author. She is the author of The Past is Rising. I mean, how cool is that!. I asked her what sparked her interest in creative writing and guess what she told me? IT WAS LORD OF THE RINGS!!! I got super excited when she told me this. We started talking about what we loved about Tolkien and the meaning behind the story. I also told her how I had a LOTR costume party and she got jealous that I didn't invite her. I never met a person that loved LOTR as much as I did and let me tell you, it was pretty amazing! Now to a more serious note, I asked Dr. Bywaters whether she experienced gender bias. She told me that when she was speaking at an event, one of the audience members asked if she had to sacrifice having a family to be a scientists. While the person didn't have any bad intentions, it showed her that people still believe females don't really fit into the STEM field. We both discussed why people think women are "sacrificing a lot" to pursue this career. I have seen first hand that women aren't sacrificing their family to be a scientist. They are making it work like men do. I am still waiting for the day when women and men are seen as equals.