When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
In first grade, I wanted to be an astronaut and go to space. Later, in elementary school, I wanted to be a news reporter because I liked the idea of being able to share important events and ideas with others.
Describe your research in five words.
“Investigating new breast cancer therapies.”
Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose research as a career path.
When I was a high school sophomore, I attended a science summer camp called Summer Ventures. I worked in a lab at the Brody School of Medicine, researching the link between an increase in autoreactive T cells and autism. I enjoyed asking scientific questions and putting my classroom biology knowledge into practice in the lab.
What’s an interesting thing that’s happened during your research?
I got the chance to shadow an oncologist at UNC Hospitals for a day. I saw many patients treated through clinical trials developed in research labs at UNC and other universities. One patient, whose tumor had an exact match with a clinical trial that had recently come in, was responding very well and her tumor’s size reduced drastically. It was rewarding to see how much of a positive impact research can have on the lives and prognoses of patients.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming female researchers in your field?
For women interested in computer science: Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by the lack of females in your classes and in the department. I say this from experience — in some of my computer science classes at UNC, I was one of the only girls in the class. We can accomplish anything as long as we set our minds to it and make use of our resources.