Britta Rinke

she/her/hers

You can find her on linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/britta-rinke-198a9146/

Education: Graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2014 with a major in biology and minor in business management.

Current job title: Business analyst consultant

What experience first got you interested in science and is that field the same one you went on to pursue? 

I went to a girls-only STEM camp at St. Thomas when I was ~11 years old. It was a free camp, and lasted a week. While I got to learn a ton about various science and technology fields, the highlight was definitely building my own airplane, going through flying simulations, and then actually flying it. This experience is what made me interested in pursuing engineering. While college searching, I was torn between engineering, genetic counseling, and pharmacy. I ended up going to a liberal arts school so I could figure out which of these was best for me (instead of joining and engineering/pharmacy specific program). I’m so glad I did, since I currently am not doing any of those three!

Tell me about some people who helped or inspired you along the way, in your early training and later in your career. 

My parents always encouraged me to find what I love to do. It just so happens that I enjoy science and technology, and I’m good at it. It’s been so fun figuring out how to blend my strengths and interests into my 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? 

I loved my general chemistry 107 class, but when I got to organic chemistry it kicked my butt. I quickly learned that I prefer studying things you can see (compared to subatomic particles).

Can you share two or three surprising twists or turns in your early scientific training and your later career path. 

During college, I wasn’t sure what I would do with my degree. I didn’t think I wanted to be in a lab. Never would I have imagined landing where I am today. I don’t consider my current job as hard science. I do a lot of process management and reengineering, six sigma is something I have learned a ton about. I am technically in business operations for a start-up, but I still get to do research (not in a lab), form hypotheses, and analyze data.

Can you give some examples of how you have incorporated your non scientific interests into your work. 

I love technology! During college, I got an internship with Mayo Clinic to work on a project that blended science with healthcare and technology. It was a perfect opportunity for me. More recently, at Optum, I took a role on a newly forming automation team. I loved learning about emerging technology and how to better incorporate it with our businesses.

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. 

A science degree will help you build a solid foundation and reasoning that can be applied to everything! Even if you don’t know where you will end up, it will teach you valuable, transferable skills like research, testing, and problem solving. Once you figure that out, and how to talk about it, the opportunities are endless!

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