Alumni Stories: Hope Jahren

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Summer 2016

"I always knew how privileged I was to think for a living. I grew up in this town where the main industry was a slaughterhouse and I always thought to myself, ‘Every day that I don’t have to go kill a pig is a good day.’. . . I have a huge amount of pride in how much we accomplished for how little money, because we are very sensitive to the fact that we are spending people’s taxes—hardworking people who go to jobs they don’t like every day. The only way I can live with myself is that I can promise them that every day we do not waste a nickel, in fact we stretch it into a quarter.

s2016_jahrenAustin, Minnesota, native and University of Hawaii professor of geobotany Hope Jahren (B.A. ’91) describing setting up a lab with a colleague on a shoestring budget. Jahren’s comment was in an interview in The Guardian newspaper about her new memoir, Lab Girl, which recounts her career path as a scientist in a male-dominated profession.


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