Interview with a STEM Author: Artemis Roehrig
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Hi STEM Sparkers! Jack started Kindergarten online this week, and to say it's been interesting is an understatement. However, Jack, Bobby, and I are all excited and happy for him to have reached this milestone, and one good thing about our school at home, is that Jack has tons of books thanks to his grandma (who is a retired teacher). Speaking of books, we have STEM author Artemis Roehrig on our blog this week. She is a biologist who studies gypsy moths and has written some fun STEM books that are perfect for a home or school library! So without further ado, I introduce you to Artemis Roehrig!
1) How long have you been writing and what inspired you to write Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter?
I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, and I wrote my first picture book Does A Fiddler Crab Fiddle? with coauthor Corinne Demas when I was working at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary out on Cape Cod. I worked with the natural history day camp, and was always wanting more STEM books that were fun to read out loud. It took almost a decade for it to become a published book, by which time I had my own children. I was pleasantly surprised that a book I had originally written for first and second graders ended up being one of the few books that could hold the attention of both my rambunctious toddler and inquisitive preschooler at once. My toddler would get excited to yell “No!” on every page, and my preschooler would actually listen to the facts. So Does A Fiddler Crab Fiddle? was soon followed by Do Doodlebugs Doodle? Amazing Insect Facts. Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter? Amazing Sea Creature Facts is the third book in the series, and was inspired by all the family seashore hikes I used to lead and some of the hilarious questions children (and adults!) would ask me.
2) Please share a little bit about Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter.
Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter? is coauthored by Corinne Demas and illustrated by Ellen Shi. It is a nonfiction STEM picture book geared for preschool to third grade. The book is designed to be read at different levels, with the youngest kids being introduced to the different sea creature names, and the oldest kids really able to appreciate the facts, and then having the opportunity to learn more about the science of each creature in the back matter.
3) You also have a background in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology; can you please tell us a little bit more about your studies and/or career in that area and share some fun STEM facts from your studies?
Evolution is the most central theme in biology because life is all about changes. The focus of my master’s degree was on an invasive bug called the hemlock woolly adelgid. (Fun fact: all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs!) Their egg cases look like miniature white cotton balls, and you might see them on the underside of hemlock tree branches if you live on the East coast or the Pacific Northwest. Each egg case can have up to 200 eggs inside! I studied how their populations grow and change over time. Now, as a lab technician, I work with invasive forest pests like gypsy moths. Some days that means counting lots of little eggs under a microscope, some days it’s setting up experiments out in the woods, and some days it’s writing.
4) Your books are related to the STEM subject of biology and zoology. What words of encouragement would you tell a child who is interested in the study of animals?
Watch the world around you! You can learn a lot just by watching a house fly buzzing around a room. And never stop asking questions!
Thank you Artemis for being on the blog! I loved learning about your work in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and giving us STEM job ideas outside of engineering (I know, I focus a lot on the "E" in STEM, sorry!).
If you're interested in Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter, check out the links below. For Artemis' author website, click here; she has some cool STEM temporary tattoo books coming out soon! And of course, happy STEM-ing everyone!