What do you do?
I am a biochemist that works with DNA in a special way to develop sensors that are rapid, easy to use, equipment free, and specific for bacteria detection in environmental samples.
Why did you choose this field?
I would consider myself a very curious person and have always loved science. I knew I wanted to study science in undergrad but I was unsure about pursuing grad school as I did not really enjoy my lab courses. That thinking changed for me when I completed my 4th year thesis. Having the opportunity to work on an actual project and design/conduct experiments with the potential to make a difference was really exciting and something I surprisingly enjoyed. Now I have an MSc! I would encourage everyone in science to do a thesis because that experience will help you determine if grad school (research based) is a good fit for you.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I think younger me would love to know that you can win awards for talking about science! I have always been an outgoing, extrovert, talkative person and I have combined my personality with my passion for science to deliver great presentations that have won me numerous awards at scientific conferences. Younger me would be excited to know that is possible.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because I love learning about the intricacies of how things work. Science is so amazing and I wake up grateful everyday that I have the opportunity to work in a field I love. I really enjoy conducting experiments and working with my hands in addition to collaborating with others. I have had many wonderful supervisors, committee members and lab mates that have enriched my experience in STEM.
Best advice for next generation?
If you love science, stick with it! Don't try and convince yourself that you like something else more if you know in your heart science is what you enjoy. Also don't be shy to seek out opportunities or make new connections. Ask about volunteer positions in a lab if you're interested in the research. Chat to a professor or teacher you look up to about their experience. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there or try new things, but nothing ventured nothing gained!
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
"It's not in the dreaming, it's in the doing." - Mark Cuban