EDUCATION: B.S. in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences; B.A. in Art History, University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, MD/Ph.D. candidate in Pharmacology, student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Stony Brook University
CURRENT RESEARCH: Currently, my research is on neutrophil extracellular traps – meshes of DNA and proteases that can be released by neutrophils (specialized white blood cells) during periods of inflammation – and how they might stimulate dormant cancer cells to resume growth.
When did you know you were interested in pursuing a degree in science?
I became interested in science when I took a Human Anatomy course offered in my high school. After starting this course I thought I might be interested in a career in medicine and I started volunteering at a local hospital to learn more about being a physician.
What got you interested in your field?
I became interested in pursuing an MD/Ph.D. after joining a research lab at the University of Minnesota. When I first started as an undergraduate I was unsure if I would end up pursuing medicine, but working in a lab run by an MD I was able to see how basic science research can inform medical practice and patient care and it made me excited about the larger potential of a career that encompasses both.
What do you think needs to happen for there to be more women in science?
I am sure that there are many things that would make a big impact here, but I think two things that may help would be a greater representation of women in science careers early on in education and more opportunities for mentorship and career development at all stages for women.
What is the Advocates for Women in Science and Medicine Conference?
The Advocates for Women in Science and Medicine Symposium is a day long conference focused on women and our scientific careers!
We designed it to provide opportunities for current students in science and medicine to learn more about the challenges women face when pursuing these careers, work on career development, and network with both potential mentors as well as their peers both at Stony Brook and surrounding schools.
Why do you think it is important to hold events – like the symposium – for students?
I attended a similar conference at the University of Virginia a few years back, which is what inspired me to host one at Stony Brook! When I left that event, I was astounded at how great it was to see a group of extremely successful women come together to support each other. It was incredibly encouraging to hear people tell similar stories to mine. As a student I find it motivating and exciting to hear from women who have established careers similar to what I want someday, and who are willing to take time out of their incredibly busy lives to talk with students! I think it is important to have students attend events like this to broaden the perspectives of those who may have not thought about some of the obstacles women in STEM careers face, but also to provide tools for overcoming those challenges and creating an environment where everyone has the resources to be successful.