Editor’s Note: We are celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting a veteran museum docent who calls HMNS “home.”
In recent years,women’s unsung triumphs have been breaking the surface, allowing us to sing praises to the heroines of the world of science. With this in mind, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is proud to spotlight a deserving influencer in the world of geosciences. Volunteer Dr. Inda Immega, more widely known throughout the halls by simply Inda, found her way into the spotlight as the 2019 recipient of the Michel T. Halbouty Geosciences Medal, and we couldn’t be more excited.
An honor found in College Station, at Texas A&M University, this particular medal is awarded every year to the male or female alum who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of earth resources and natural science education. Inda’s immense knowledge and body of work warrant this recognition and reinforce the warm regards of her presence about the museum halls. This HMNS veteran, alongside her husband paleontologist Dr. Neal Immega, has been a member of the volunteer program for longer than her professional career.
Inda grew up in a time when children were taught to hide under desks to escape the blast of an atomic bomb. It was a time when the call for young people to dive into the sciences was proving more and more pertinent. As a high schooler, Inda spent a summer in a science program organized by Texas A&M, and her love for “pretty rocks,” as she calls them, blossomed into something more. She received a scholarship to the university and then joined a campus that was slowly growing a female population during a time when the institution itself was being faced with a need for change.
Thanks to Inda and her peers, various obstacles that stood in the way of women’s education were worked around and later demolished. When in need of a swimming requirement to graduate, but the only pool on campus was off limits to women, it was Inda and her schoolmates who posed the right question to the right people. “We would run into a barrier and we would have to sit back and figure out how to fix that,” she says. Sounds simple, yet such actions had quite the impact.
We might think of such a feat as that of a trailblazer, but with a smile and a shrug Inda humbly recalls this period. Her reluctance to think of herself as an individual heroine is admirable. “I did not go to A&M to be a pioneer,” she says. Yet her involvement in securing her education at a time that seems so far removed from women in the year 2020 and then continuing on a journey to then relay her knowledge reads as powerful beyond measure.
From humble beginnings to finding her “home” here at HMNS, Dr. Inda Immega finds joy in educating others about her passion as a Master Docent. Most of her time is spent in the Faberge exhibit tucked into the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals. A wealth of information and inspiration, Inda is truly a gem amongst gems.