What are possible research and career paths if you are a student interested in STEM? Not surprisingly, the opportunities are endless and ever-changing. Read Hailey’s story to identify with a scientist who followed their passion for biology and is now thriving in her research on genetic diseases. There are many diverse paths you can take to find a career you love; hearing personal stories from scientists is one way you can begin to find your way!
Name: Hailey Conover
Year in present degree: 3rd year getting a PhD in Cell & Molecular Biology at Colorado State University
Department: Cell & Molecular Biology
Previous Education: Bachelor of Science in Biology (with a minor in Chemistry) at the University of New Mexico
1. What problem will your research help solve?
I am currently trying to understand whether the genetic architecture of an individual can predispose them to having children with genetic disease.
2. What advice do you have for high school and undergraduate students about getting into this field/area of research?
I think the best advice to give to high school and undergraduate students is that they don’t need to know what they want to be when they grow up. Find one broad area of passion (i.e. Biology) and then work towards that broad goal because the journey will help you narrow your focus. I have always been interested in biology, but each phase of my life lead me closer to my current position without actually knowing what was next. When I was very young I wanted to be a trainer at SeaWorld, then a marine biologist, then a conservation biologist, then a geneticist, then a human geneticist. Though my interests were focused on Biology as a whole, I was able to explore many different options and experiences throughout my undergraduate degree. I feel that having multiple internships and working in many undergraduate research labs allowed me to explore my different interests.
3. What helps an individual be successful in this field?
Loving what you do. Graduate school is something that is best accomplished when you are itching to get to work to see the results of an experiment. It won’t always be easy, but if you truly think that your schoolwork and research are making a difference in your life and maybe in the lives of others, you will always want to be there.
Stemcareer.com includes these interviews as part of the GAUSSI Career Planning program under the direction of Rich Feller PhD, Professor of Counseling and Career Development, Colorado State University.