Women in STEM – Leslie Amodeo

 s-ladyologyLeslie Amodeo – Postdoctoral Scholar at The Scripps Research Institute in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Tight Cropped Ladyology - Line.jpgLife in the Lab

  • What is your area of research? Developmental Neurophysiology and Alcoholism in animal models.
  • What was your best day of science? When I got my first NIH research grant.
  • What was your worst day in science? When my first grad school PI told me that “it was not going to work” and I would need to find a new lab.

fullsizerender_1Dr. Leslie Amodeo is a postdoctoral Scholar at The Scripps Research Institute in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience. She has a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Illinois – Chicago.

  • What did you study at university? Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
  • What is your favorite piece of technology or equipment you get to use in your job? In vivo electrophysiology

tight-cropped-ladyology-lineLife Outside of Lab

  • Where did you grow up? San Bernardino, California
  • What profession did you think you would be when you were a kid? I thought i was going to be in the Forestry Service.
  • What do you do to relax outside of lab? I like to go to the zoo, aquarium, or park with the kiddos.
  • Do you have any pets? We have a Dog (lab/pit mix) and cat
  • Do you have any fun hobbies? Are kids a hobby? Because I sure do spend a lot of time and money on them!

fullsizerenderDr. Amodeo getting some help from the littlest research assistant.

Tell us a little bit about your family… I was married after my first year in grad school (PhD) in 2011. We had Etta right after my preliminary exam in 2013. Since we really couldn’t afford daycare on grad student incomes, Dennis (my husband) and I split days and we had an undergraduate student watch her for a couple hours a week. We had an amazingly supportive department, but not without its own challenges. In 2015 we had Nina, 5 days before Dennis proposed his dissertation and not even a month before we moved for his post-doc in San Diego. I stayed home to finish writing my dissertation and take care of Nina (who had colic at the time). After defending my dissertation at the beginning of 2016 I began a post-doc fellowship at Scripps.

Dennis was offered a tenured faculty position at Cal State San Bernardino starting fall 2016 and currently stays at the university (2h away) most of the week. The “two-body” problem has had a huge impact on our family in the recent year and I am contemplating my options (2nd post doc, adjunct teaching, commuting back to San Diego, etc.) as we move forward.

tight-cropped-ladyology-lineBig Picture

  • Is there any one event or person who/that made you want to be in STEM? I don’t think there was any one event or person. I worked in a lab that was built on peer mentorship which played a huge role in preparing me for grad school.
  • What is your best advice for girls interested in science? To find an internship as soon as you feel ready. The most important thing is to get involved. Science is not for everyone so getting your feet wet is a great way to decide whether this is the career path for you. Don’t wait till you graduate to decide to work in a lab.
  • Why do you think it is important to have more women in STEM? I think women provide a great asset to science and there are a lot of personal benefits that comes with it (flexibility in work hours, creativity in experimental design, outreach programs, etc.). STEM is becoming incredibly important in our society with many of the high paying jobs in these fields. Reducing the gender gap is one imperative way we can make STEM more accessible to everyone.
  • Why were your drawn to science? Did you ever consider another career path? How close was your schooling related to your current job? Surprisingly, I always wanted to do this. I just got lucky and went to an undergraduate school that had a neuroscience program. While this was the case, I was also told to “never shut doors” and that as an undergrad you should be open to changing majors because it is much harder to change career paths the longer you wait.
  • What was your biggest struggle during your degree? I still struggle with feeling confident in science and am afraid that someone will call me out as an imposter. Because of this I refrain (even to this day) from calling myself a “scientist”. This fear and insecurity has haunted me throughout grad school and continues into my post-doc. I think this is a big issue for women in science since many struggle to emphasize their skills and/or achievements which in the end can have a negative effect on their careers.
  • What was your biggest motivation to obtain your PhD? Obtaining my PhD was a career choice and was just another step forward on that career path. I wouldn’t have done it if it was not to advance my career.
  • What do you think is a hurdle for many women in STEM that needs to change? I think a lot of women in STEM talk about body image and how they dress or look makes them an outcast. I dealt with this a lot since I was pregnant twice during graduate school. While I’m not bothered by comments about my body, it is a strange feeling for people to stare and make uncomfortable comments about your looks. Being pregnant is a neon sign that says “I’m a woman that shouldn’t be working” and while I had a ton of support from the department and my husband, there are plenty of people who don’t.

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Fun

  • What is your favorite book? The Color Monster
  • What is your favorite desk snack? Coffee
  • What is your favorite cartoon? Doc McStuffins
  • What would you listen to while writing? RadioLab
  • What was your favorite subject in high school? Spanish
  • What is the strangest thing on your desk right now? A welder, but I guess that’s not that crazy.
  • What color socks are you wearing? None.
  • Organization nut, or curated chaos? I wish it was the former.

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Women in STEM – Erin Winick

e2-ladyologyErin Winick– CEO at Sci Chic and Freelance Writer 

Tight Cropped Ladyology - Line.jpgLife at Work:

  • Where do you work? I am CEO of a company, Sci Chic, which creates science and engineering inspired jewelry using plastic and metal 3D printing. I am also a freelance science communication and technical writer on topics ranging from women in STEM to manufacturing.
  • What was your best day of science? My best day in science was the test day for my first engineering lab class. It was in design and manufacturing lab and we got the chance to test our robot and see what else everyone else had created as well.
  • What was your worst day in science? Probably the day I doubted the path I had taken. I seriously considered switching my major during my freshman year. I felt isolated and like I didn’t have people to turn to to ask for help and I was not enjoying my entry level classes like calculus and physics. I am so glad I pushed through to my upper level classes and found a community among the Society of Women Engineers.

winick_erin_4Erin Winick is a CEO and a Freelance Writer. She has a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida in Mechanical Engineering. You can follow along with her science on Twitter at @erinwinick. She is wearing her blue galaxy dress that she sewed herself!

What did you study at university? Mechanical engineering at the University of Florida

  • What are some of the highlights of your career so far? 
    • Completing my senior design project was big moment for me because it was the culmination of all of the knowledge I had gained from the years prior.
    • Traveling to New York and DC in the same week for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Festival and the USA Science and Engineering Festival was a major moment for me. It was a combination of the two areas I had focused on and I got to meet an amazing group of people.
  • What does your average day look like? Right now I dedicate 3 days out of the week to focusing on Sci Chic, and 2 days to working on technical and science writing. The days range from creating new designs for 3D printing and  exploring scientific topics for new jewelry to diving into a complex engineering topic to explain through my writing.
  • What is your favorite piece of technology or equipment you get to use in your job? Absolutely my Lulzbot Mini 3D Printer. I got it in 2015 and it was my first 3D printer I owned.

tight-cropped-ladyology-lineLife Outside of Lab

  • Where did you grow up? Tampa, FL
  • What profession did you think you would be when you were a kid? I was the kid that always stressed out about this question and never really had a solid answer. I considered everything from jobs in the science fields to journalism positions.
  • What do you do to relax outside of lab? I love hiking and nature in general. As a kid all of our family trips were hiking and birding based and this has stayed with me. This past summer I actually visited 10 national parks and made 2 cross country drives.

winick_erin_2Erin visiting John Deere corporate headquarters during her engineering internship.

  • Do you have any pets? I wish, but not right now.
  • Do you have any fun hobbies? I actually do a lot of sewing! I sew everything from everyday clothes to costumes. I always sewed my Halloween costumes growing up. It goes along with my overall love of making things.
  • Tell us a little bit about your family… I have a boyfriend of 6 years who is an immensely creative writer/blogger/ghost writer. He keeps me balanced when I get deep into engineering.

tight-cropped-ladyology-lineBig Picture

  • Is there any one event or person who/that made you want to be in STEM? It was more a combination of events, but one person that inspired me was my grandfather. He actually passed away before I was born, but his legacy was carried on through my family. He worked on the Saturn and shuttle programs but died before the launch of the first shuttle. My whole family has hugely valued the space program because of him and really made me appreciate science and engineering.
  • What is your best advice for girls interested in science? Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help! There is a huge community of people out there who want to see you succeed. Do not feel like you are alone.

Erin hiking in Yosemite National Park during one of her summer internships in Californiawinick_erin_3-1

 

  • Why do you think it is important to have more women in STEM? I think that the more women there are in the field, the culture of more STEM institutions will shift to be more accepting of women. Many companies and labs are still working to create an equal and fair environment and woman should not be driven out because of this.Additionally, I think many women out there would love a career in the STEM fields but do not get a true picture of what the job entails at a young enough age to pursue the career. We need to expose young girls to what science and engineering jobs involve so they can decide if they might enjoy it.
  • Why were your drawn to science? Did you ever consider another career path? How close was your schooling related to your current job? I am passionate about making new things and engineering was the best way for make this into a career! I was very drawn to the journalism field as well but now get to work in that area as well with me science communication work and technical writing. I definitely use my engineering skills in the creation of all of my 3D printing and design work.
  • Are there any women in STEM who are inspiring you right now, and why? Some of the people I love following and look up to right now are Simone Giertz, Summer Ash, PhysicsGirl and Danit Peleg. Some of them I have gotten the chance to meet and interact with as well which is pretty awesome!tight-cropped-ladyology-line

Fun

  • What is your favorite book? 
    • Jurassic Park
    • The Martian
    • Ready Player One
  • What is your favorite desk snack? Smoothies
  • What is your favorite cartoon? Kim Possible
  • What would you listen to while writing? Orchestral movie soundtracks. I am especially into the Moana soundtrack right now.
  • What was your favorite subject in high school? Journalism/Newspaper
  • What is the strangest thing on your desk right now? A statue of the MailChimp mascot monkey holding a red pen.
  • What color socks are you wearing? I am currently not wearing any socks. XD
  • Organization nut, or curated chaos? I run a line down the center.
  • Any other fun fact about you…I pole vaulted and ran track in high school and love roller coasters

winick_erin_1Erin working at her Lulzbot Mini 3D printer which she uses for her company, Sci Chic (scichic.com)

 

tight-cropped-ladyology-lineContact Erin on Twitter @erinwinick