Debra S. Karhson, PhD

Research Scientist, Autism and Developmental Delays Program, Stanford University

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All of your ideas and dreams are possible if you choose to be daring enough to ask for them to be made real!

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I design and perform experiments with human participants (what I call "citizen scientists") to best understand how to improve quality of life for autistic people.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I have the great fortune of being the little sister to an awesome autistic older brother. My interest in neuroscience came from wanting to share data-driven ways other humans can best interact with and provide resources for autistic people, like my brother!

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

Younger me was always scared that being a scientist meant being super serious. I thought to be a scientist I would have to give up my super enthusiastic, highly rambunctious, very optimistic attitude. Turns out, you don't! You can be whimsical AND do science! Science needs you exactly as you are!

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

My favorite thing about being a STEMinist is the freedom to think and act creatively! I've always loved how the best scientist are the ones who think wild outside the box thoughts and design experiments that are so elegantly simple that you want to kick yourself for not thinking of it first!

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

My favorite advice is "the answer is always no until you ask", which means all of your ideas and dreams are possible if you choose to be daring enough to ask for them to be made real!

INSPO / FUN FACT

“Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations." Dr. Mae C Jemison

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