What opportunities have helped shape your career?

I owe much of my success to the University of Kentucky. Taking on small roles, such as an hourly research assistant, allowed me to slowly work my way up from an undergraduate research assistant to a funded graduate teaching and research assistant, to a doctoral fellow, post-doctoral research manager to a principal investigator. Along the way I enjoyed incredible support from mentors and colleagues that have been willing to critique my curriculum vitae, collaborate on grants and articles and advocate for me.


What words of wisdom or advice do you live by?

I’m not sure if it is advice necessarily, but there is a short story that has stuck with me over the years known as the “the starfish story.” The short of it is, an older man sees a child throwing beached starfish back into the ocean after a storm. He asks why she would waste her time when there are hundreds of starfish, and she can’t possibly make a difference. The young girl replied, “I made a difference to that one.” I try to keep that in mind that while I can’t help everyone or address every problem, I can help students in my class or answer a research question important to my client.