Research Scientist; Science Principal Investigator, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), USA
Country of Birth: USA
Country of Residence: USA
Educational Background: PhD, Theoretical Physics, University of Minnesota
I grew up in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and often saw geologists wearing heat resistant suits and probing lava with a stick. I really wanted to do that!
Designing and testing instruments for observing microorganisms in their native environments, particularly in the ocean and in ice, my group visits areas on Earth that are cold and dry such as Greenland, North Alaska, and Arctic Canada. These areas are analogues for other planets, particularly Mars.
I have switched fields a couple of times, and it’s always a big challenge becoming recognized in the new field. There’s no magic to overcoming it, just persistence and being visible in publications, at meetings, and in review panels.
Science is changing quickly, especially in the biomedical sciences. Look at new, emerging programs at different schools and see what interests you. Also, think about where you’d like to live and incorporate that into your career if possible. There’s a big difference between national labs and universities; make sure you choose wisely. Do research on grad programs before applying, and find the one that’s the perfect fit for you.
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