Science Education PhD Student, UC Berkeley

And - STEM Internship Coordinator

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No scientist gets to be successful alone. We are part of a community.

Laleh Coté

What do you do?

I work with college students who want to dedicate their careers to things like biology, chemistry, physics, math, and computer science. I also work with the scientists and professors who guide them through their training, and help everyone with communicating and being inclusive.

Why did you choose this field?

I studied biology myself as a college student, and was very fascinated with the human body and the microbes all around us. During my education, I did research with plant biologists, microbiologists, and immunologists, and realized that my ideal career would be have to be about both science and people. So, science education is a perfect fit!

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

There have been a lot of things, but being admitted to a PhD program was unbelievable to me. I didn't grow up knowing that a PhD was possible, or even what it meant to have one. The more people I talk to, the more I realize that I'm not alone in this feeling.

Why do you love working in STEM?

Every day humans learn more about the world around us, and our role in that world. However, I find that the most fascinating topics involve the humans who work in science, and how they perceive the equipment they use, how they understand what it means to know something, and how they figure out how to work well together. You think science is complex? Try people! These are great challenges, but I'm so honored to work with people in this way.

Best advice for next generation?

Connect yourself with others! Working in science is something that you can do, with hard work, and a genuine love for answering questions. However, it's difficult to see yourself in a certain career path if you don't see anyone you can relate to. So, make friends, ask people about their careers, and find people who can help you get to where you're going. No scientist gets to be successful alone. We are part of a community.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity."
— Mae Jemison, physicist and astronaut

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