Erin Marie Shammel Baker

Associate Professor, North Carolina State University

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Do not be afraid to try your ideas.

What do you do?

My group creates new instrumental and computational methods to evaluate molecules involved with various diseases.

Why did you choose this field?

I became interested in chemistry when a cyanide heap leach gold mine behind my parent's ranch polluted the water supply. As my family investigated the reasons for the animals dying, I became interested in the different molecules and why they caused these effects. I also always liked math and since chemistry is very math-based it was one way for me to apply my passion. Furthermore, you can get TA and RA stipends when attending graduate school in chemistry, so this allowed me to receive higher education without having large loans.

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

I wish I wasn't as afraid to approach professors and people in various career stages for advice throughout school as we are all very happy to help out.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love seeing people discover their passion or really understand something for the first time as their eyes light up and they get so excited :)

Best advice for next generation?

Do not be afraid to try your ideas. You may fails 99% of the time, but the feeling when that 1% works is just amazing and makes up for all the failures.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all.” ― Deborah Day

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