Profiles of Women Working In STEM

Joan Meiners

Ecologist, Athlete & Environmental Journalist

Joan Meiners is an ecologist, athlete and environmental journalist. She has a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Ecology from Utah State University. Her graduate research focused on studying patterns among hundreds of native bee species to better understand which habitats best support pollinator biodiversity. For this work, she hiked hundreds of miles through Pinnacles National Park in California to capture 52,000 individual bees over two years, an effort which contributed to Obama’s decision to elevate Pinnacles from a National Monument to a National Park in 2013.

While pursuing her studies in science, Meiners trained and competed as a cross country and track athlete and a sponsored road and mountain biker. She held her undergraduate school record in the 3k Steeplechase for five years and has competed in seven National Championships in road and mountain biking. A bad bike crash in 2015 left her with a traumatic brain injury that caused her to take a step back from racing.

In 2018, compelled by a desire to help deliver science to the public, Meiners shifted her efforts from research to journalism. She spent 2019 as an investigative environment reporter for ProPublica in New Orleans, focusing on pollution from the oil and gas industry. She has also written about the environment for Smithsonian Magazine, Discover Magazine, Orion Magazine, WUFT News and The Times-Picayune. Find out more at and follow her adventures on Twitter @beecycles.

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