Shanice Piango

PhD Researcher & Doctoral Teaching Assistant, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

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Work hard but play harder (the ocean/world is your playground)!

What do you do?

I'm into seaweed genomics! I look at the DNA and RNA within different seaweeds to understand their life history and how it can be manipulated for use as biofuel!

Why did you choose this field?

I love the precision of lab work and the balance of being in the ocean with one of the most amazing marine ecosystems, Kelp forests! I grew up on the island of Trinidad and Tobago being surrounded by the ocean and its vast unknowns made me curious but I knew I wanted to be a Marine biologist after taking a class from Dr Judith Gobin, she inspired me, not only as a woman but as one of the first Deep-sea biologist from Trinidad.

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

Oh man, I still pinch myself thinking about it! I did a research internship at Oxford University on Mesophotic coral reefs and was even published 2nd author on the paper. It was such a defining experience for me as a young researcher and really motivated me to pursue a PhD.

Why do you love working in STEM?

STEM is dynamic. New technologies are emerging and science is just expanding in terms of the questions you can ask. STEM has no discriminations and even if you aren't the most academic, there is so much hands-on lab and field experiences you can do, it fosters so much curiosity. I always look forward to new studies being done on seaweeds and working with my lab mates too.

Best advice for next generation?

STEM has no gender bias. Work hard but play harder (the ocean/world is your playground)!

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“It always seems impossible until it's done!” - Nelson Mandela

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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