Camille Ross, 24, grew up in Fair Haven, New Jersey. As a kid, she would use her town’s library. She went to story times and checked out books. She even volunteered at the library in high school; she laughs “It’s funny, because the ladies that work there have known me since I was a baby. They know my mother, too.”
Camille spent several summers visiting Acadia National Park; during her time there she learned about Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin and ended up going to Colby College. In one quick sentence she tells me, “[Colby has] a partnership with Bigelow, so I ended up doing the semester program; then from there became an intern [at Bigelow], then a technician, then a grad student, and I’m doing a PhD.” One thing really led to another, I remarked. She laughed, “It really did, yea.”
Camille started using BHML in 2018 when she first moved to town as a semester student at Bigelow. She got a card to take out books and would use the library as a place to study. Libraries, Camille says, “tend to be a nice hub of the community, they’re very welcoming; you don’t have to pay to come in. Especially here, it just seemed like a very central part of the town.”
Last year, Camille came to the library with a proposition: to start a chapter of “Girls Who Code.” “Girls Who Code” is a national organization that “is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.” Camille approached Bethany Schmidt, BHML’s Technology Coordinator, and together they launched BHML’s first year of “Girls Who Code.” The club “started out with something called Scratch, which is a building block coding language.” Camille explains, “the idea is to get them immersed in coding; so you drag and drop different pieces of code to get it to do what you want. It's an easier intro [to coding], but there’s definitely a learning curve. We use those blocks to build animations; so at the end of the [Girls Who Code] term, the kids all had their animations to show. We had a showcase at the library with snacks and watched everyone’s animations. Some kids had 10 different projects, some had 2 or three that they worked more intensely on.”
Camille will be heading up another term of “Girls Who Code” at BHML. The after school club will start up on Tuesday, Oct. 4. To learn more, visit bbhlibrary.org/after-school-clubs/ for more information, or call us at 207-633-3112.
At work, Camille considers herself a computational oceanographer, she explains “right now, specifically, I am trying to model the habitat of the North Atlantic Right Whale and where they might go to feed in the future…The reasoning behind that is try and find new places for the survey teams to go out and look for them...and essentially try and identify regions that could be important in the future for conservation. There’s only 336 of this species of whale left. It’s pretty sad; and it’s a really important problem; and a lot of people don’t even know about them.”
To learn more about Camille’s work on the Right Whale, check out: Ross, Camille H., et al. “Projecting Regions of North Atlantic Right Whale, Eubalaena Glacialis, Habitat Suitability in the Gulf of Maine for the Year 2050.” Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, vol. 9, no. 1, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.2020.20.00058.
Camille likes literary fiction, and science fiction, and prefers physical books to eBooks. One of Camille’s favorite reads was the Neapolitan Novels by Elaine Ferrate, starting with “My Brilliant Friend.” I asked Camille what she thought the library might be like in 50 years, “That is just so hard to think about! I hope it will still have books, like physical books.”