Communications and Program Director at Mind Science Foundation
Although a Midwest native, Emily has worked on the research/bench side of science in Virginia, Texas and California studying cancer therapeutics. She maintained an active love of science outreach and event planning all throughout her career. Emily is passionate about sharpening the public perception and understanding of science. She also enjoys thinking of new programming designed to inspire future generations to love science. Currently, she serves as a board member of Green Spaces Alliance and is involved with Junior League, LeaderBoard, Sigma Xi, American Society for Biochemists and Molecular Biologies, Emerging Leaders Council of United Way and SASTEMIC.
I grew up obsessed with making it home from school in time to watch Bill Nye, the Science Guy and trying to copy his experiments. My dad’s garage quickly became the place to try and take apart some device and see if we could get it put back together with my giant white windbreaker that I donned as a lab coat. I had amazing teachers in high school that pushed me to think harder and use life lessons to problem solve in physics and engineering.
I went to college and enrolled in a brand new program at the time and was able to carve my own path and take classes in a wide variety of disciplines. I could take Sleep and Memory, Abnormal Psych, Fluid Transport, World Religions and Calculus III all in one semester. I knew my love of science was still flourishing and so I picked a large graduate program to try in Virginia. I rotated in labs investigating how parasites replicate in your heart tissue, how enzymes could selectively activate themselves and then chew through your connective tissue and how magic potions seemed to cure every disease it touched. I picked the bacteriology lab dedicated to finding ways for cystic fibrosis patients to live longer and my piece of the puzzle was studying an enzyme. We were not an enzymology lab so I found myself in the biochemistry and medicinal chemistry department seeking new ways to try and understand how the enzyme worked and taking it back and translating it to my lab.
While I was a student, I was a founding member of the Women In Science organization and enjoyed showing youngsters what it was like to be a scientist and challenging their views of traditional mad scientist personas. After I graduated, I moved to Texas to start a postdoc in a biochemistry lab working on a project that used photochemically active nanoparticles to kill cancer cells. We were not a biology lab so I found myself at the Health Science Campus working with immunologists, imaging specialists and animal models. And then I would come back and translate it for the chemists. I co-founded the UTSA Postdoc Association and worked with colleagues at UT Health San Antonio to bring career options to grad students and postdocs through internships (like the one I had at the Tech Transfer office) and workshops. I left academia to try bench work at a large biotherapeutics company in California designing the best way to mass engineer cancer therapeutics. I was getting lost in the shuffle and wanted to try something else and found my current role (through networking).
Now as the science guru at the Mind Science Foundation, I get to read/listen/watch the cool science that is happening every day about the brain. I get to write or serve as an editor on blog posts that translate science to the masses. I help decide which speakers to bring in to tell us about their most recent work. I get to promote science on social media and plan science outreach events to encourage youngsters to love STEM. I get to organize an international conference encompassing technology and how it’s changing the human experience. All in all, a pretty cool gig.