My STEM Story

What inspired you to pursue the career you have chosen?

I’ve always loved science, with dreams of becoming an astronaut, then a doctor, then an Ebola researcher, and finally a biochemist.  However, once I got through the University of Wisconsin with Honors in Biochemistry, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.  The options were Med School or Research, and neither wet my appetite at the time.  Through networking with the right people, I got a job in medical devices, and with my technical background, climbed the ladder quickly, eventually becoming the North East Area Launch Specialist for new defibrillation technology.  However, exciting though my job was, training leading physicians in implant technique and running clinical trials at the top research institutions, I felt niched.  I had my whole life planned out, riding the corporate wave in medical devices.  I wanted more.  So I left my job, moved to San Francisco, and joined an accelerator for startups in IoT and Wearable technology.  Now, I am planning out Smart City programs from the US to Hong Kong, organizing humanitarian hackathons, and working with leading-edge, IoT startups.  I guess you could say, my career chose me, and it’s not done deciding where I’ll go.  I follow my passions and, fortunately, have the family, friends, and mentors to support me in my endeavors.  My goal, now, is to support my female peers on the winding path of life in STEM; to help them find meaning in their work, work that has meaning, and opportunities beyond the typical STEM career path.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love thinking analytically and dreaming big. For example, I like brainstorming with the Department of Public Heath how we can use a wearable pollution sensor to inform asthma patients when to take their medication to prevent an attack. Even going a step further, prepare hospitals for an influx of pulmonary-related illnesses due to an increase in pollution or pollen count.

Another example: brainstorming with Pharmaceutical giants how wearables and IoT devices will not only help their customers (physicians and patients) diagnose chronic life-altering diseases, but manage their disease and it’s lifecycle in a meaningful way. Like a wearable that detects and can even predict seizures, or a smart pill that reports through the cloud the status of it’s course through the body and effectiveness in treatment.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in your industry?

Network, network, network.  The world already knows you’re smart because you specialize in STEM.  Now it’s time to determine your passions, how you will achieve them, and find mentors that can support you.  Also, don’t ever let the obvious career path decide your role in life.  Embrace your intelligence, your ability to learn, and your passion to succeed and go do something that makes you happy.

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