Entries in Insects (1)


Sophia Spencer and #BugsR4Girls

In a story that has traveled across the globe, Sophia Spencer, an eight year old girl, who loves insects but was teased for it by her peers, has since been connected to myriad entomologists in large part due to her co-author, Morgan Jackson’s use of social media. Sophia – whose love for insects was inspired by a visit to a butterfly conservatory at the age of two - is now published in Annals of the Entomological Society of America. The publication, entitled, “Engaging for a Good Cause: Sophia's Story and Why #BugsR4Girls” [1] discusses Sophia’s experience of being mocked and teased in school for her love of bugs and her subsequent loss of engagement , which prompted her mother to reach out to the Entomological Society of Canada. Jackson, a social media volunteer at the Society, used twitter to rally support.  The piece evaluates the social media and wider media response following Jackson’s tweet, which garnered an outpouring of encouragement for this young scientist, and highlights the potential for social media to make positive impact across multiple platforms. The paper also delves into important topics such as stereotypes often imposed upon women in the workplace, as well as the underrepresentation of women in science.

More to the point, the wide-scale response brought back Sophia’s confidence and “old funny self”.  Sophia’s story is as heartwarming as it is important, and is especially poignant amidst our currently divisive political climate.  Public encouragement and support transformed the haunting spectre of bullying into a message of hope – and it is my hope that this story continues on and inspires children who might feel that they are judged or shunned because they might be different, because the truth is, we are all different! How much better to celebrate our differences! This story has many refreshing messages including that of the love of knowledge at the heart of scientific inquiry, how people can work together to overcome serious obstacles, and how science and social media can actually bring out the best in people.



[1] Jackson, MD, Spencer S. Engaging for a good cause: Sophia’s story and Why #BugsR4Girls. Annals of the Entomological Society of America.2017 110(5), 2017, 439–448 doi: 10.1093/aesa/sax055