Eight-year-old Sophia Spencer turned her bullying into a positive situation. Sophia was being teased for loving bugs and the science surrounding the little critters. Her mom, Nicole didn’t want to discourage Sophia’s interest in science so she reached out the the The Entomological Society of Canada. This led Sophia to be one of the youngest people ever published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
— Nicole&SophiaSpencer (@sigalmummy775) May 20, 2017
Nicole’s letters started off explaining her daughter’s bullying situation and love for bugs. “She has asked me for over a year if this is a job she can do one day, exploring and learning more about bugs and insects,” Nicole wrote. “I have told her that of course she could; however, I am at a loss on how to continue to encourage her in this field of science.”
— Entomological Society of Canada (@CanEntomologist) August 25, 2016
She then asks The Entomological Society if Sophia can speak to a professional entomologist to “encourage her love and explain to her how she came this into a career.” Nicole simply asks for a five minute conversation or a pen pal, but The Entomological Society went above and beyond her request.
The Entomological Society paired Sophia with entomology Ph.D. candidate Morgan Jackson and she helped him collect bugs all summer long for his paper. The paper was about how social media, specifically Twitter, can help further female interest in science. Sophia became the junior author for his article titled, Engaging for a Good Cause: Sophia’s Story and Why #BugsR4Girls.
I'm really proud of this piece, and am thrilled to share the publishing experience with Sophia, who I met & collected bugs with this summer pic.twitter.com/s7SiT7giIl
— Morgan Jackson (@BioInFocus) September 6, 2017
Since being published and becoming viral Sophia’s love for bugs and science has been resurrected. She said that she wants to be an entomologist when she grows up and won’t listen to the people who think girls liking bugs is weird.
#BugsR4Girls is now a popular hashtag on is helping young girls foster a love and knowledge for science.