Ahna Skop

Professor

UW-Madison

And - IF/THEN Ambassador

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If you like creative problem solving and art, science is the place to be!

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am professor of genetics and my lab studies the long forgotten cellular structure called the midbody, which is now considered a signalling organelle important for cell asymmetry. My job also includes teaching which I love. I teach juniors and seniors in a capstone course on Genomics. This course improves science communications skills while teaching students genomics, proteomics and bioinformatic approaches in science. Lastly, I am also associate with the art department and I collaborate with students on science art pieces that are installed in buildings on our campus and internationally. As a professor, I also do a lot of outreach in the community and nationally with regard to my research and role a woman in STEM.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I was a work study student in college. I discovered that I could work in a lab while also getting paid. So I joined C. elegans lab to clean glassware and pour petri plates for nematodes. I then discovered that graduate school was FREE, so I applied as I knew my family couldn't afford medical school. I ended up in graduate school eager to learn about molecular biology and the rest is history.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

I failed my prelims in graduate school twice. I was devasted and many in my class told me that I had to drop out of school. Fortunately for me, I had a wonderful mentor who told me that grades were not important but that creativity was and that I had a lot of it! He supported me through my failures and provided a mentorship that I hold dear today.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I wish I knew how to start publishing books at a younger age. It has brought me so much joy and pleasure to see young kids excited about genetics and art. I also wish I knew graduate school was free in grade school and that there were more women in science.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love the students and the young kids I get to meet when I'm doing outreach. I also love the thrill of discovery of things no one else knows.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

If you like creative problem solving and art, science is the place to be!

INSPIRATION

"If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the rive. Walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food. It's a plus for everybody."-Anthonly Bourdain

 

"Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are. " Mother Teresa

 

"Change the world by being yourself" -Amy Poehler

 

"Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck." -Dalai Lama

 

"Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle."

 

"Behind every dope woman, is one hell of a story"

 

NOMINATE A WOMAN IN STEM

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