Graduate research assistant, University of Illinois

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Stay curious and find something you are passionate about.

Corinne Nancy Cannavale

What do you do?

As a graduate student, I am studying how metabolic changes related to diet and body composition impact the brain.

Why did you choose this field?

I remember finding my love for science in high school when I had a fantastic chemistry teacher. She encouraged me to enroll in a program run by another teacher at my school where I became involved in a project at Rutgers University. During a summer program and a class the following year at my school, we helped in their endeavors to sequence the genome of duckweed. From there, I went off to college for engineering but didn’t love it, and at the same time my dad was undergoing treatment for a glioblastoma. I decided to change majors to pursue molecular and cell biology and joined a lab to study immunotherapy for glioblastoma. This research really peaked my interest for how the brain works and after senior year I joined my current lab where I study brain function in relation to diet and body composition.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Being able to publish a paper displaying my work. I always knew I wanted to make an impact in the scientific community and couldn’t see how I could get to that point, but now I know every time I publish and help build the literature I am making an impact.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love learning! Being a scientist means that you never stop learning.

Best advice for next generation?

Stay curious and find something you are passionate about. Odds are if you are curious about it, there are other scientists who are too. If you can find a question you are truly passionate about understanding you can make a career working toward finding the answer.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” - Yoda

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