Postdoctoral fellow - pyschology, Stanford University
Keep throwing darts until something sticks.
What do you do?
I am a social and personality psychologist. I do research on how people deal with their emotions, and how it affects their health and relationships. As a Postdoctoral Fellow, I am getting additional training to eventually become a professor at a major research university.
Why did you choose this field?
When I first entered college, I was constantly told to get research experience because it would look good on my resume. I had stumbled across an article in a magazine that made me interested in how biology shapes personality, so I went in search of a researcher who studied this topic. My Biology professor pointed me to the Psychology Department, and that’s when I got my first research position. My newfound interest in psychology led me to switch my major from biology to psychology. I also liked research so much that I decided to work in other labs throughout college and ultimately pursued a PhD.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Federal fellowships are extremely difficult to get and I honestly never thought I’d get one. I applied for the same fellowship three times and could only make an Honorable Mention, and applied for another fellowship three times for it to never even be discussed. But I kept trying and eventually got a federal fellowship as postdoctoral researcher. I wish I knew (and accepted) the fact that lots of rejection usually comes before success!
Why do you love working in STEM?
"STEM requires so much creativity and problem-solving."
I look forward to working with other people. Science is much more social than people make it out to be. The people you work with on a daily basis can help you make your science better and sometimes even make you a better person.
Best advice for the next generation
Persevere in the face of obstacles and don’t lose hope. As I say to my labmates, I’m not very good at taking “no” for an answer. I keep throwing darts until something sticks.
I have music-color synesthesia, which means that I see colors when I listen to music.