When I was a young girl, my career interests changed constantly. One week I wanted to be a doctor, and the next week a teacher. When I was 10, I desperately wanted to become a biologist and study wild animals. During that period when I was fascinated by field researchers, my mother told me about Jane Goodall and her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania. I thought then, and still do, that Jane Goodall was incredibly brave to move to another continent and try something new in research. Her independence, perseverance, and positive attitude were motivating to me when I felt discouraged.

Growing up, it was important to have female heroines to look up to because they proved to me that a woman could be anything she wanted to be. While my skills and interests led me to the museum field rather observing wild animals in the field, Jane Goodall has remained one of my heroines. Her message of hope, understanding, environmental stewardship, and peace are encouraging in an uncertain world. Jane Goodall accomplished so much, but she has not rested on her fame and achievements; she continues her tireless efforts to improve the world around her. That dedication to positive social change remains a source of inspiration for me today.

-Charlotte Wolfe

For more information, check out the Jane Goodall Institute or her youth service organization Roots and Shoots.

Check back tomorrow to learn about a fictional heroine who lived her life the way she wanted.

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