By Jamie Leary

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Whether she’s in the labs or at a dig, Natalie Toth knows she has a big role to fill. She’s the Chief Fossil Preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, a job that may conjure images of dusty guys in white lab coats, not a vivacious woman in her 30s.

A career in paleotology is not something she even considered growing up. “I cannot think of a woman scientist that I admired or that I knew about,” Toth said.

Natalie Toth

Natalie Toth (credit: CBS)

But it’s a job she loves and not just for the field work and research, Toth knows she is a role model for girls and boys.

She also knows she has the perfect topic to spark interest.

“Dinosaurs are such a great gateway topic into science. I feel so fortunate that I have as part of my life, my career, something I can speak to because it is something that captivates everyone from age four to 104.”

It certain has captivated Ellie Erb, an intern at the museum. The dig for the triceratops in Highlands Ranch was her first and she loved having Toth be her boss.

“She’s such an energetic person and so inspiring,” said Erb. ” It’s just nice to see someone like me having such a lucrative job in the paleo world because there tend to be a lot of men there.”

Toth takes her responsibility as a role model seriously.

“Having the opportunity to speak on behalf of women in science is something I feel really strongly about,” she said. “We need more women in science … and since I get to have that role, it’s important that I take it on full force.”

(credit: CBS)

Jamie Leary

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