Cassandravictoria Innocent - 2022 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Scientific Innovation Lead
PARITII, LLC, USA
SPIE Early Career Professional Member
Born in the US
I would tell young women interested in pursuing a career in STEM to reach out to anyone and everyone for advice whenever you need it. Knowing what you don’t know is the biggest but most easily survivable battle.
Early in my career I worked for NASA, and seeing scientists apply their skills to climate issues under the NOAA-CREST initiative opened my eyes to the social aspect of science... that scientists have a civic duty to better the world. Working for the government was an honor and a blast. And the inspiration to work there came from knowing my talents could serve my country in a way that affects not just the one or two percent of scientists in any ivory tower, but in a lasting way, globally—hence the social aspect of science!
I have piloted academic-industrial partnerships, managed two large research facilities during their transition to scientific innovation hubs, and initiated institutional changes to engage and sustain external relationships and strategic alliances. In my current role, I apply that experience as a subject matter expert in efforts to find and disseminate emerging technologies created by underfunded scientists, engineers, and technologists.
My biggest challenge in my career remains actively making sure that the science I support has a positive and direct effect on society, not just now, but also for the future. As my career developed, I wish I had been told to take a step back and remember that—that science and innovation are always in the context of humans doing good things for other humans.