Published: March 14, 2017

Women in Science: Akiko Shinya, Fossil Preparator

Akiko Shinya, Chief Preparator, Negaunee Integrative Research Center

Akiko Shinya prepares vertebrate fossils for research, prospects and excavates fossils, conserves specimens, and works with volunteers and students in the lab. 

What has been your favorite part of the job, or a memorable moment?

All of it! I love what I did, do, and will do in the future! I particularly enjoy fieldwork, living under the stars with colleagues and discovering something new. The highlight so far is discovering my own dinosaur, Gualicho shinyae, in Patagonia. I'm going to Antarctica this year. I am super psyched about that!

[Edit: find out how Akiko's time in Antarctica went! She and Curator of Dinosaurs Pete Makovicky sat down to tell us all about it—from dinosaur digs to what to wear (bunny boots) and what to eat.] 

What advice do you have for future scientists?

Try it out. Try volunteering in a museum or in a university and see if you really enjoy it, because you will never know if you don't try it out. Becoming a volunteer as a fossil preparator at the ROM was the best thing I did for my career. I discovered that not only did I enjoy it a lot, but also that I was truly good at this work. Also, don't hesitate to ask for advice and help from people who are doing what you want to do. There are a lot of helpful and kind people out there!

Akiko Shinya
Chief Preparator

Akiko is the chief fossil preparator in the Museum. She manages three labs filled with fascinating ancient creatures from all over the world, and works with scientists, volunteers, students and interns everyday. Akiko loves preparing fossils and going out on fieldworks to hunt and dig fossils with her colleagues.