Mireya Mayor discovered the smallest primate species before the age of 30, she has swum with giant squids, great whites, followed in the footsteps of Henry Morton Stanley during his expedition down the Congo River, been in a plane crash, chased by elephants and trekked to the most remote corners of the globe. She is a primatologist, and more importantly she is an explorer.
She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and her PhD from Stony Brook University in New York. Most of her extensive studies have followed some of the most endangered species of sifakas in Madagascar, primarily the silky sifaka and Perrier’s sifaka.
I feel a little stupid every time I relate to Dr. Mayor, because how can I possibly relate to a woman who has done so much. She has lived my dream not only as a primatologist but as a National Geographic Explorer. But still, I cannot help but draw similarities between us. We both grew up in South Florida with pet chickens and bugs kept in containers in our bedrooms. We both developed a love for animals that followed us through our college career. We both came across anthropology by accident, you can read about my experience here. We both have a silly and sometimes seemingly impractical love of fashion. And above all we are both animal lovers.
She has a quote that is something that I live by, even before I knew of Mireya Mayor:
“Television has the power to help people know and connect with these animals and habitats that are disappearing. We may be facing the largest mass extinction of our time, so awareness is crucial. If we don’t act now it may be to late.”
Dr. Mayor is an excellent example of a human being, and I know she has inspired me to pursue greatness and really follow my dream of one day being a National Geographic Explorer and host, while also being a primatologist and helping to prevent the extinction of some of our closest relatives. I hope her story can inspire you, too. If you want to learn more about her and her journey, check out her awesome book “Pink Boots and a Machete” which is a quick, easy and entertaining read and a bible for any girl wanting to go out in the field.