The Woman Who Made Me: Goodall captures hearts of young girls with power of chimpanzees


Ashley Qian

The Sidekick staff designer Noor Fatima considers Jane Goodall, an English primatologist and anthropologist, as the woman who made her. Fatima thinkst Goodall’s research of wild chimpanzees has impacted her outlook on nature since childhood.

Noor Fatima, Staff Designer

When I was in second grade, I read a certain book from the classroom bookshelf. It was part of The Magic Treehouse Fact Tracker series. It was called Pandas and Other Endangered Species

In this book, there is a section about Jane Goodall and her most well known research, in which Goodall lived alongside a group of chimpanzees, studying their behaviors.

Reading about these chimpanzees that shared human attributes with us was inspiring. I was already a child who was interested in science, but it always felt so disconnected to me as a young girl; all the cool scientists I had heard about were men in fancy black coats. Using math I did not understand, studying subjects that were interesting, but not what I found interesting.

I am a very visual learner, so the concept of being able to simply observe in an experiment excited me. 

Even better, a woman could do it.

Goodall sparked my interest in science. From then on, I wanted to become a biologist. I thought it would allow me to work with animals like Goodall. Looking back, I’m not sure that would’ve been the case. 

It is the spirit that counts, though.

Goodall’s conservation efforts also showed me the importance of environmentalism. Her methods of research gave importance to the test subjects and their emotions. 

Goodall’s work gave me a clear reason as to why we need to conserve the planet in a way my younger brain understood and connected to. 

She is the root of why I don’t mind taking a moment to pick up trash from a beach, or to consider how much plastic is in the packaging I consume. 

She inspired the part of me who loves environmental science and learning how things work in the wild.

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