My interest in science and research stems from a series of fortunate events. Unlike those who knew all their lives that they wanted to become a scientist, I sort of fell into it by process of elimination. I started off undergrad as an information systems major, but that got boring quickly and I decided to switch to biology. Most (read: all) my bio major friends were premed and the idea of dealing with sick patients did not appeal to me. Luckily, my school had a joint program where you could get your bachelors in biology concurrently with your masters in bioengineering and that seemed like a good idea, plus i love math…so I did that. The program was in its infancy and with a lot of trial and error and by the time i was done (5.5 years later) I never wanted to see the inside of a classroom again.
I was lucky to do some summer research at UT Southwestern and that awakened withing me a beast! (Ok…i’m kidding). Honestly, I just thought science was alright and I got paid.
Luckier still, I applied on a whim to a pharmaceutical company in Connecticut and I got the job. I was over the moon! My job involved using the baculovirus expression system to produce proteins for high throughput screening for the targets chosen by people with PhDs.
At 23, my love for research made science human to me. With each project, I was required to optimize the expression in order to ensure that we produced enough biomass for the screens. I always grew attached to projects and often took it personally when the project got scrapped for one reason or another. My experience in industry was amazing, I had great mentors who cultivated my love for research and motivated me to learn more. I thought I had finally found my niche and was happy to continue growing and learning and working my way up the career ladder.
My this is getting long!
Anyhoo…to paraphrase a long story. Economic downturn….layoffs…I didn’t get laid off but I realized that I wanted more options and a Masters wasn’t going to cut it. So i applied to several graduate programs in pharmacology and I got in to most..( i was surprised at first that I got in…my undergraduate career was less than stellar! Those letters of recommendation must have been Ahmazing!)
So here I am…done with the first few years. In a lab that studies oncogenic viruses. Loving where I am and what I do. Not quite knowing how exactly I got here but realizing that this is exactly where I’m meant to be.
The purpose of this blog is to help future hopefuls realize that
A. Science is awesome
B. Your history doesn’t have to be perfect to get into that program you want to
C. You should never sell yourself short…dont restrict yourself
D. Scientists are equally as awesome…it’s a cool club..you want to be a part of it!