Each month, we are featuring profiles of WIB-Pittsburgh members. We asked about their career path and experience in WIB. Read on for some interesting stories and insights!
Chair, Young Women In Bio, WIB-Pittsburgh
- Career position:
Teacher and Educator, High School Science
- Education Background:
- University of California, Berkeley, BA in Molecular and cellular biology 1991
- University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D. in Pharmacology 1997
- Post doc with Thomas Smithgall, University of Pittsburgh
- Research assistant with Jill Siegfried, University of Pittsburgh
- Research interests:
During training, my main research focus was cellular signaling and experimental therapeutics targeting cancer. Now, I am interested in developing engaging hands-on lab-based curriculum to engage the next generation of students.
- Fun facts:
I was an avid competitive swimmer in my youth and competed in the 1984 and 1988 US Olympic Trials for butterfly and backstroke. My swimming helped make me who I am today. I love the water especially windsurfing, paddleboarding and white water rafting.
Experience in WIB
- What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?
My mother was a physician and she influenced my interest in science. I heard about WIB when I began teaching in 2010 and felt that this would be a great networking opportunity to connect my students to professionals in the life sciences.
- How has WIB played a role in promoting your personal or professional growth?
My goals focus on developing opportunities for our next generation of female leaders in science. Helping to develop the Young Women In Bio is a natural fit for me and my goals as a professional educator.
- If you had one piece of advice to give a new WIB member, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and follow your passion!
- How did you come to find a career that is a good fit for you?
I never had mentors when I was growing up in my education until I hit graduate school. By this time, it was late. I think if I had better mentors earlier on then I would have had more choices. I became a teacher because I wanted to expose the next generation to all the fields of science and try to help them “find their passion”. I have found my calling in becoming a teacher.
- What has been the biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?
I hit a point in my research career where I really wasn’t enjoying it as much. I asked myself what I wanted out of the remainder of my working career and it was be a high school teacher and coach swimming. I followed my passion and reached those goals.
- Who has been a good mentor to you and why?
My first real mentor was my Ph.D. advisor Dr. Said Sebti. He always was able to bring out the best in his staff without making them feel inadequate. He was still my best teacher and I try to emulate his mentorship with my students.
- Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey as a woman in science?
Most people think becoming a high school teacher was a backwards step, but it is a wonderful career and I use my training as a scientist every day.