Other interests: Dance, cross-stitching, gardening, reading.
Why did you pick your college major? How did that help (or not) lead you to where you are now? I had always been interested in biology, constantly asking why and how things worked. Once I took chemistry during my sophomore year in high school, I knew that the molecular-level of understanding was what I craved. I combined my two passions and majored in biochemistry so I could zoom into the nitty gritty of how and why biology worked the way it did (and how it went wrong in disease).
How have your career aspirations changed over the years? My aspirations have taken a completely different path than what I had always wanted to do. As a kid, I always knew I'd be a scientist. The field of study changed as I grew: entomologist, meteorologist, biologist, and finally chemist. I combined all my interests in college and pursued a biochemistry degree, always thinking I'd become a research scientist at a biotechnology company, working on drugs for diseases in desperate need of a treatment. I went straight from undergrad to a Ph.D. program. After the first year, I was very unhappy, anxious, and dreading benchwork every day in the lab. I realized that I loved to read science news articles and learn about things outside my field of study more than I enjoyed doing research myself. Once I figured out that it was somebody's job to write those articles, I knew I wanted to be that somebody! I left my Ph.D. program with a master's degree and pursued a career in science writing, which I love!
What is something you’ve learned about yourself since starting your career? I am resilient and resourceful. I'm not afraid to admit when I don't know something or teach myself new things.
What is a misconception you had as a student about your career and the professional world? As a student (and young adult), I thought that adults knew what they were doing and why and always had a clear sense of their job duties and goals. Now I know that there is a LOT of self-taught learning and figuring things out along the way! The better you are at figuring stuff out, the better you will be at any job (and in life, in general).
What’s your favorite thing about your job? The ability to learn about really cool, cutting-edge science and talk with the scientists doing the research.
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of work? I love to dance (especially ballet), cross-stitch, garden, and read. When I'm not working (and sometimes while I am), you can find me cuddling with my Lab/Australian Cattle Dog mix Lucy!
What are some roadblocks you hit during your career? How did you overcome them? Self-doubt and anxiety are the biggest issues I've had as a young adult, mostly focused around my graduate school and career. I've largely conquered them by talking with my loved ones and seeking counseling for my anxiety. Mental health is a crucial part of wellbeing that people shouldn't feel ashamed to get help for or talk about - it's the only way things will get better.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger/high school self? Don't be afraid to try new things - and fail. You almost always learn more from failure than from success.