Linda McCall is a Research Fellow in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin and President of the North Carolina Fossil Club. Discouraged from seeking a college degree in the 1970s by college counselors’ claims that her best career prospects as a paleontologist would focus on “oil and gas and microbes,” she channeled her lifelong love of fossils and field research into participation in many clubs and institutions. She wrote and presented her first scientific paper in 2008, co-authored with colleagues Dr. Ann Molineaux and Dr. James Sprinkle at The Paleontological Society of Austin, on specimens and field data she had gathered via that society’s activities at a newly-discovered collection site.
Since then, she has published more papers and won multiple awards, working with fossils from Texas and North Carolina. She is a devoted advocate of amateur and avocational paleontologists and fossil clubs, speaking out on their historical and present-day contributions to fossil collections, research, and public education about paleontology, and the importance of continuing to support their work and sustain their legal ability to collect fossils on public lands. To that end, she is now on the recently-formed Ad Hoc Government Affairs Committee in The Paleontological Society - only the second Amateur/Avocational position in the Society.