My Story List

Join in the discovery of WiSEM by exploring the My Story databases. Celebrate the contributions of Rutgers’ outstanding female scientists. Explore careers in science, engineering, mathematics, and the health professions by taking a peek into the academic and life adventures of women faculty at Rutgers University.

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Areas of Interest: Function of Reelin in Brain Development, The Phosphatidylinositol Pathway in Human Cortical Dysplasia, and the Role of Dyrk1A in Neurogenesis and Differentiation.
My Story: Ever since I was a child, I loved biology. I wanted to know all about the body, the animals, and the trees; just about everything in the natural world interested me. Growing up I was exposed to children who had neurological disorders because of my brother who sustained brain damage when he was a baby and suffered from serious complications. During the summer I used to go with my mom to accompany my brother to a center where they provided physical therapy to children with many kinds of neurological disorders. This exposure shaped me and gave me the desire to help my brother, my family and all...
My Story: In hindsight I can find indicators that would determine that I would do research on urban communities and the environment. When I was very young I thought I wanted to be an architect. I had a close connection to buildings because my father was a civil engineer. I always say I grew up with the smell of cement because my father would take my siblings and me to construction sites. I didn't grow up seeing examples of people who did research as a profession.  Sociologists have been characterized as "professional peeping toms" and I've always been intensely interested in people and how they relate...
Areas of Interest: Insect Anatomy, Leaf beetle systematics, Women in Science.
My Story: My mother dreamed that I finished my Ph.D before my father, who at the time was writing his dissertation; I was two. Given that I have been hearing this story since I was very small and my dad is a physicist and an amateur zoologist, it isn’t surprising that I got a doctorate, nor that I went into science. As with most people my first influences were within the family, we went ‘crittering’ in the California desert looking for snakes and other scaly stuff, we fished and Dad explained why the fish were different, and I gathered eggs on the farm in Ithaca. My dad was in a lab at Cornell when I...
Areas of Interest: Microbial evolution, Viral host-shifts
My Story: I am the least likely person to end up in science. There are no scientists in my family. My parents tried to give me the Christmas chemistry sets but they didn't take. It was only when I worked in a laboratory that I learned what it meant to be a scientist, as opposed to sitting in lab courses. I was never good at my lab courses; if I was supposed to end up with two grams of something, I would only end up with one. In lab courses you have to do something once, on the spot, without thinking it through. Research is completely different because you are designing the process yourself and are able...
My Story: The first thing that set me on the science path was a series of twelve life-science books that I received when I was five. My parents used to read them to me over and over again, and when I learned to read they were a staple in my library. There were books about monkeys, insects, plants, and venomous animals. Their beautiful illustrations captivated me and the descriptions of strange and scary organisms filled me with awe. The books are since out of print but they sparked a life-long interest in the life sciences.  During middle and high school I participated in science enrichment courses...