What do you do?
I am a scientific researcher, working in the field of breast cancer. The research I do is fundamental cell biology, to try and uncover the causes of breast cancer and identify new ways we may treat cancer to inhibit its development, growth and/or spread. I am particularly interested in how the immediate “normal” environment surrounding a breast cancer can be hijacked during cancer progression to promote its growth.
Why did you choose this field?
Whilst I was studying for my bachelors, my mother had a breast lump removed. I believe this was what made me passionate about pursuing study in the cancer field. I sought out and organised to spend my free time (outside of university hours and a part-time job) in a lab that investigated breast cancer immunology. I ended up doing an Honours degree and my Ph.D. in this lab, and never looked back.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Getting a Ph.D.! That was one of the biggest things I have ever done and will ever do in my life. Also, the opportunities I have had to travel overseas and interstate to meet with other researchers and present my work.
Why do you love working in STEM?
There are always new and exciting technologies, ideas, and findings in STEM. I love the flexibility that working in my role affords, and the creativity and initiative I have the freedom to explore when coming up with or following new directions of research. I also take a lot of gratification from the knowledge that what I am doing may one day help to benefit cancer patients.
Best advice for next generation?
STEM is always going to be important, and will always need new minds and new hands. In a STEM job you can be simultaneously working on your own projects and also working together with supportive scientific teams, with the knowledge that there are plenty of different trajectories or paths to follow. A career in STEM allows you to think creatively, apply your mind, and at the same time do something to help the world.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
My favourite app/website is Twitter. I have made so many connections and found so many events and funding opportunities using this social media platform.