What advice would you give to a new graduate student?
I think there are many things that I would tell a new graduate student that I wish I knew when I was in my first year. The first thing would be don’t be afraid to experience failure everyone no matter how seasoned, will have experiments fail it is part of the nature of the beast. The second thing I would tell a new graduate student is don’t be afraid to try new things, many times when you get out of your comfort zone is when you are able to grow as a researcher and broaden your biology knowledge. The third thing I would tell a new graduate student is find hobbies that do not relate to your job because developing hobbies you enjoy will help keep you sane through the rigor of graduate school.
What attracted you to your major?
I was first interested in biology when I was a young child growing up in Alaska. My first love was nature and playing in the woods. I always had a great time participating in science fairs when I was younger. Then in high school I had my first microbiology class which I found extremely fascinating. This led me to pick microbiology as my major in undergraduate. I liked microbiology but upon coming to graduate school I wanted to venture outside of my comfort zone, and try something new. Dr. Menet’s laboratory offered me this opportunity as when I came I did not have a lot of molecular biology experience. So I have always had an attraction to biology and trying out different fields of biology to expand my knowledge.
What is your favorite word?
My favorite word is aliquot. I have started using it all the time. I remember seeing a meme that only scientists would use aliquot in a regular sentence, and there have been several occasions where I have caught myself doing this.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career
I would consider getting my first scientific paper published my biggest accomplishment. For a long time I was unsure whether I would ever be able to get the data to make a publication. Then once I had the data it seemed that I would not be able to find a journal that would accept my publication, however this last March it was finally accepted which was a little over a year from the first submission to the publication. So in the end it made me realize that all my hard work was worth it, and I was able to achieve a publication that I am very proud of.
What characteristics do you prize most in a colleague?
There are many things about my colleagues that I am very fond of, I have the best labmates. I am happy that I know I can count on them to tell me like it is. It always makes me happy to see how to can all be so independent and still work together to collaborate on projects. I know that without my labmates and boss that I would not have been able to achieve any of my accomplishments by myself. Another great thing about my colleagues is that we can laugh and have a good time and be relaxed and have fun while we work, which makes for a great atmosphere.
What is on your bookshelf?
Most of my reading these days is scientific papers, but I do occasionally find time to read books for enjoyment. I prefer fantasy books like Lord of the Rings, Gulliver’s travels, the Chronicles of Narnia. I also like to read anything by George Orwell. I prefer his non-fiction books like Homage to Catalonia, Down and Out in Paris and London, and The Road to Wigan Pier. For the most part I do prefer fantasy books, I think creativity and imagination are something that should never be lost.