Whether it’s working with fossil specimens and the collection managers, editing the latest literature in zoology or posting 3-D images of found fossils for the paleontology website, Linda Garcia loves that her job at the University of Michigan is never the same.
Garcia’s creative, come-and-go personality is what makes her so perfect for the variety of job responsibilities as both publication associate editor at the Museum of Zoology and administrative assistant at the Museum of Paleontology.
Three mornings a week, you can find her in the Museum of Zoology, editing two publications, Miscellaneous Papers and Occasional Papers. From her editorial work, Garcia has garnered a plethora of knowledge on a range of specimens.
“I’ve been working with variety of fish papers that are going into one monograph,” Garcia says. “I’ve viewed so many images of fish and fossil fish.”
Last summer, Garcia and her husband traveled out west to Wyoming, where they utilized her work knowledge, visiting a quarry and digging for fish fossils.
“We came home with so many beautiful specimens. We’re prepping the fossils — like they do in paleontology — and we’re going to hang them in a mosaic on our living room wall.”
When she isn’t editing the most recent research in the Department of Zoology, Garcia can be found in the Department of Paleontology doing administrative work, also managing the department’s two websites and social media.
For Garcia, it really just depends on the day, and whatever exciting event is happening in the zoology and paleontology departments — like the recent mammoth find in Chelsea. Garcia was there when they pulled the skull and tusks out of the ground.
Following the discovery, Garcia worked on websites for the U-M Museum of Paleontology and the U-M Online Repository of Fossils, posting information and tweeting about the Bristle mammoth. While UMMP houses the fourth-largest repository for fossil specimens among U.S. university museums, UMORF hosts 3-D images from the collection.
“We’re trying to keep the public up-to-date on what’s happening with the bones.”
The constantly changing nature of Garcia’s job requires flexibility and resourcefulness, traits that characterize her enthusiastic, creative personality.
Before working at U-M, Garcia was involved in several creative endeavors harnessing her love for artistic expression. She designed and created 50 costumes for a local ballet company’s annual “Nutcracker.” She also began a photography business with her husband.
“Being creative — that’s my passion,” Garcia says. “It gives me the time where I can just take a moment for my soul and create something people will really enjoy.”
Lucky for Garcia, she uses her creativity in both work and extracurricular activities.
“When you like what you’re doing, the days go by so fast,” Garcia says.
While Garcia’s main focus today is her work at the University of Michigan, sewing and photography still plays a large role in her life.
She enjoys sewing quilts for friends and family. She also has donated her quilts to Quilts of Valor, which in turn gives them to service members and veterans touched by war.
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From weddings, the outdoors and wildlife, senior portraits and babies, Garcia continues to do photography because she really loves it.
“Babies and children are my favorite,” Garcia says. “I’ve been called the baby whisperer. … I can get them to stop crying right away. I’ve got the magic touch.”
From fossil records to filing, fish bones and photography, Garcia utilizes her talents every day in the zoology and paleontology departments.
“I love my job and where I work,” she says.