"I Can See Myself in STEM" Ambassador Profile - Myria Perez

Myria Perez

Fossil Preparator
Perot Musuem of Nature and Science, Dallas, TX


Personal statement:

Hey! I am Myria Perez and I am a paleontologist. Just like most young kids, I caught fossil fever. That obsession with dinosaurs and prehistoric life only grew when I began volunteering at the Houston Museum of Natural Science at twelve years old. It was the museum’s annual Dino Days event where I met the paleontology curators and asked about volunteering. I had brought them my drawings of dinosaurs I did during my spare time to show off to them. They allowed me to volunteer as long as my mother came along with me and so I did. For the next few years, my mother drove me into Houston, an hour away from where we lived, almost every weekend to learn how to prepare delicate fossils including my favorite, dinosaurs, and share my passion through hall tours to museum visitors.

When I turned sixteen, I immediately took my driving test so I could then drive myself through Houston traffic and be a part of the museum’s paleontology crew during my free time. I loved learning hands-on at the museum about the subject I was so passionate about and having supportive mentors. I felt like I belonged at a museum, where I could be myself and use my creativity for science.

Today, I work as a fossil preparator at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, in my dream career. Not only do I get to prepare fossils from Alaska and be an integral part in the active research, I show off my job to the public daily in the visible fossil lab. I am the person that uncovers fossils that have not seen light since they were buried millions of years ago. Through fossil preparation, I am able to discover something new and exciting every day. Being a paleontologist means I am creative, ambitious, and living that dream I had those many years ago.

Biography:

Like most children, Myria Perez was fascinated with dinosaurs when she was young. Her passion for prehistoric life led her to volunteer at her local Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) at the age of twelve. There, she found mentors, learned to prepare fossils, cared for museum specimens, and went on excavations with the paleo crew in North Texas. During this time, she was an active Girl Scout and completed her Gold Award project with the HMNS.

Myria worked on a variety of fossil vertebrates as an undergraduate at Southern Methodist University including marine reptiles from across the globe. She conducted undergraduate research and was a part of a Smithsonian Institution exhibition on Cretaceous reptiles from Angola. During her collegiate years, she could be found competing SMU’s ballroom dance team.

Myria graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Science in Geology and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. She is now working as a Fossil Preparator at the Perot Museum of Natural Science in Dallas, Texas and has a rescue dog/furchild named Buddy.

Segment Pitches:

Come join fossil preparator, Myria Perez make real time discoveries at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s Paleo Lab. Watch as she reveals 70 million year old fossils of an Alaskan dinosaur, Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum.

The Video can be filmed in the Paleo Lab at the Perot Museum of Natural Science.The fossils arrive at the lab typically encased in a “jacket” made of burlap, plaster, and toilet paper to protect and support the specimen. These jackets and their contents have potential to contain brand new discoveries for paleontology.

She uses special tools that work like mini jackhammers called airscribes to carefully remove the rock from around the fossils that have not been seen by a human eye before.

Come discover dinosaurs with Myria!


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