No need to feel discouraged if you’re an aspiring scientist like Adam Heck once was. Even today Adam reminds himself, “In research you’re are going to fail… a lot. Roughly 80% of your experiments won’t make it past being a passage in your lab notebook. That does not mean those experiments were not important or that you are a bad scientist. Turn the page, and keep trying.”
Read more of his interview for tips on how you too can find your way to a successful, fulfilling career as a scientist.
Name: Adam Heck
Year in present degree: 3rd year
Department: Cell and Molecular Biology
Previous Education: Bachelor of Science in Biology, Minor in Chemistry and Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Sioux Falls
1. What problem will your research help to solve?
Stem cells, created from other cells types like skin or muscle tissue, have an enormous potential to be utilized in future medicine both as direct treatments options as well as models for disease. I am currently trying to help figure out how stem cells control their gene expression so that we can safely implement them in human medicine.
2. What Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics do you most use?
Even though I’m a cell and molecular biologist by trade, I readily employ statistics in order analyze and interpret data. I also use stoichiometry when making different solutions or figuring how much of a reagent I need to use in my experimental design. Finally, much of my future research will involve analyzing big datasets in which I will be utilizing computer science skills I have been building up over the past few years.
3. What advice do you have for high school and undergraduate students about entering this field/area of research?
Make sure you pay attention to classes outside of your specific research/career goals – it will set you apart from your peers! If you’re interested in this field, I’d recommend gaining computer science skills. That is, learn how to code while you still have good amounts of time. I also wish I had gotten more of a background in mathematics (especially statistics).
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.