The Babblery
Women herpetologists connect to tell their stories

Umi is unusual in the field of herpetology, not only is she often the only woman in the room, but she is definitely the only woman in a headscarf. Over the years, many have suggested that she tell her story. But Umi realized that her story really wasn’t all that unique. She joined with two herpetologist friends to gather the stories of fifty women herpetologists working around the world. And in the process, she created a network of support and friendship.

In this episode, we explore the lives of herpetologists with three women: Dr. Umilaela Arifin and Dr. Sinlan (Sheila) Poo are two of the three founders of the Global Women in Herpetology Project, and Dr. Jessica Hua is one of the many women around the world who shared their stories.

Dr. Poo—Sheila—describes their initial Zoom meeting as a place of deep connection. She says that when she flips through the book and reads the experiences of her fellow herpetologists, she feels part of a wide network of friends. “I want to just go through [the book] and visit everybody and know that I have a bed in all of these different countries,” she says.

These three women share their passion, their delight, and the wisdom they’ve attained in this field that they fell into only accidentally. Listen in!

For more information:



  • Audio recording of various species of frogs in Thailand taken at the Sakaerat Environmental Research Station in Thailand. Audio: Dr. Sinlan Poo
  • Calling American toads, Audio: Dr. Jessica Hua
  • Frog calls in the “Frog Voice of Borneo” were recorded and compiled by Ulmar Grafe and Maximilian Dehling
  • “Poison Dart Frog” by Julian Winter from the Free Music Archive
  • Sheila Poo photo credit: Brandon Lau

About The Babblery:

The Babblery features conversations with and about women in the 21st century. In each episode, we explore how our physical and social gender informs our experiences at work, at home, and in the wider world. Rather than focusing on issues, we focus on lives: working, parenting, playing, voting, advocating, and creating as women. Visit The Babblery at The Babblery is produced by Suki Wessling with support from KSQD.


Follow The Babblery: