Christin M. Godale
Doctoral Candidate in Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati
You do not have to change who you are to pursue a career in science.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I research a disease called temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), which is defined by the appearance of unprovoked, spontaneous, and recurrent seizures. Many different anti-seizure drugs (ASD) are available to treat TLE; however, they fail to control seizures in 1/3 of patients. Even when they are effective, ASDs can produce significant psychiatric and behavioral side effects. Since there are no clinically proven preventatives for epilepsy patients, there is a tremendous unmet need for new treatments for people at risk for developing the disease. Therefore, the purpose of my research is to investigate potential targets for anti-epileptogenic therapy development.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
I was diagnosed with epilepsy as a young child. I had challenges in all aspects of my life. The main obstacle that I struggled with was living with a constant fear of having a seizure as a child, teen, and young adult. I was afraid of everything. One day, I decided "enough was enough," and I conquered my seizure anxiety to pursue a science career to understand my abnormally wired brain. It is difficult to pursue a professional career as a person with epilepsy. I continuously struggle with seizure clusters, memory issues, and other co-morbidities that accompany epilepsy, but I continue to persist. I graduated with my B.S. in Neuroscience and Biology at Baldwin Wallace University and immediately decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. I would not change any part of my journey, and I am excited for what the future holds for the next stage of my career.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
Generally, I wish that all children and young adults with epilepsy know that everything will be alright. I know that is an extremely cliché thing to say, but that is what I needed to hear as a child with epilepsy in a hospital bed. If you had told me a decade ago that I would be a neuroscientist and advocate in the epilepsy community, I would not have believed you. I remember the day that I was accepted into my Ph.D. program, and I had a hard time thinking that was even true. Everything that I have been able to accomplish has genuinely been a blessing, and I never take anything for granted.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
There is never a dull day in STEM. Each day provides new opportunities to learn, collaborate, and innovate.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
I believe scientists are often described as "weird, nerdy, and boyish." When I first entered the STEM field, I had a colleague tell me that they were going to "knock the girl out of me." Thankfully, my colleague didn't intimidate my self-image. I cannot tell you that I'm not nerdy, but I am girly! You do not have to change who you are to pursue a career in science.
INSPO / FUN FACT
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less" ~ Marie Curie