We all have interests our friends and family tease as as weird – but if you really love something, don’t let anyone tell you to stop sticking with it. Your dreams are your dreams and they just may pay off in a big way.


For example, Sophia Spencer is 8, years old and loves bugs — especially grasshoppers. Despite her age, she’s something of an insect expert, and even likes to carry them on her shoulder at times.

OK that’s not for us, but she loves it – but some of her friends have teased her for her interests, but that may all change now – she’s scored a byline in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America!

This all came to be after Sophia’s mom, Nicole Spencer, contacted the Entomological Society of Canada and told them her daughter was interested in a career in bug research, but her mom wasn’t sure how to nurture this, and let her know her interests were NOT weird.

Well, it worked out pretty perfect: The organization tweeted the mom’s letter, using the the hashtag #BugsR4Girls, and Sohpia got tons of encouragement tweeted back – including from Morgan Jackson, the entomology Ph.D. candidate who wrote that tweet, who asked her to write a paper about the role Twitter can serve in promoting women in science.

“After my mom sent the message and showed me all the responses, I was happy,” she wrote in her portion of the paper. “I felt like I was famous. Because I was! It felt good to have so many people support me, and it was cool to see other girls and grown-ups studying bugs. It made me feel like I could do it too, and I definitely, definitely, definitely want to study bugs when I grow up, probably grasshoppers.”

Sophia spoke to NPR about everything that happened. “Before … I really thought loving bugs wasn’t the best hobby,” Sophia told NPR. “But after I realized bugs are for girls I thought to myself, ‘Well, I think I should start loving bugs again, because just because people say they’re weird and gross doesn’t mean I shouldn’t like them.’ ”

Inspiring others

“Kids now, after I told them the whole story, they’re like, ‘Oh, well — could you teach me more about bugs?’ ” Sophia says. “And I’m like, ‘Sure.’

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“So I show them the techniques to help bugs. Like, a lot of my classmates like catching moths and butterflies … so I show them an easier way, ’cause a lot of kids flatten out their hands which kind of crushes them. So I show them that you should cup your hands so it doesn’t kill them.

“And a lot of the kids stopped bullying me about it,” she says. “I feel really good.”

“I see myself growing up to become an entomologist,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but the more hard work you do, the better the thing you’re working for is.”

What a beautiful message about how the universe will reward you if you stick to your dreams and don’t let anyone talk you out of them!