Where can people find you?
I’m also in charge of the social media for the program I work on, and you can check us out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook: @PostdocAcademy
Undergraduate: I went to Bradley University in Peoria, IL, I majored in Biology and graduated with honors in 2013
Graduate school: I went to Saint Louis University and received at Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2018.
Current job title: Program Director for the Postdoc Academy, I work in the Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs office at Boston University.
What experience first got you interested in science and is that field the same one you went on to pursue?
Ever since I was little, I have always been interested in science. My mom is a nurse, so early on I thought going into the medical field would be a good option (there’s even a picture of me at 4 years old using a stethoscope on a teddy bear!). During college, I worked in the Emergency Department at a local hospital and realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t cut out for that type of work. Since I was interested in science and enjoyed doing research in a lab, I went on to get my Ph.D. In my current position, I’m now helping those who are doing cutting-edge research to be successful in their career – it really combines my love of science and my passion for helping people.
Tell me about some people who helped or inspired you along the way, in your early training and later in your career.
I think there have been many people on my path who have helped me in one way or another. During my graduate studies, I received a lot of support and encouragement from Dr. Jane McHowat, who showed me some of the administrative aspects of research. I also was lucky to have a lab manager, Carolyn Albert, who was super supportive and really encouraged me to go after what I wanted as a career. I would always encourage you to seek out multiple mentors who can support different parts of your career.
Can you tell me about any moments of doubt you had as a student or early in your career and how you dealt with it?
Imposter syndrome is real! Feeling like I didn’t belong happened quite frequently as a graduate student and postdoc. I can remember pretty vividly when I was sitting in a seminar series, thinking I wasn’t cut out to be a scientist. For me, the first step to overcome it was just talking to other people and knowing that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way.
Can you share two or three surprising twists or turns in your early scientific training and your later career path.
The biggest change for me was transitioning into a different career path after I finished my postdoc. When I first started graduate school, like most people, I wanted to become a faculty member. As I moved through my training and was exposed to different aspects of academia, I found a career that fits my life best. It’s a huge change to be working in an office instead of a lab!
Can you give some examples of how you have incorporated your non-scientific interests into your work.
I love to travel and explore new places, and as a scientist, I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the U.S. for conferences. Still in my current position, I travel often to collaborate with team members at different institutions and present at conferences.
I also enjoy baking, so I like to bring treats into the office to share with my co-workers!
Is there some advice you could you share from your own experience to help someone with a science degree who is just starting off on their own career path.
Stay true to yourself! Think about what you value and what interests you the most, and seek out careers that can fit that. There can be a lot of pressure in academia to do a specific type of career or be a specific type of researcher, but that might not be the best fit for you!