Once again, I am able to identify another individual who is a scientist on Reddit.
Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, sex, what country you live in, what you do for a living?
I’m an American male, in my late twenties, and presently working as a researcher – specifically, I am a graduate student and hopefully soon to earn my PhD.
What do you specifically research about?
I’m a geneticist, though that doesn’t mean anything specific; today, genetics is quite the interdisciplinary field. In my case, I’m researching a specific kind of lipid and it’s interaction with the life cycle of yeast. While I could talk your ear off about it (at the cost of my anonymity), the short version is I’ve found an odd interaction with another process and I’m trying to figure out the mechanism of said interaction, as well as what proteins are involved.
Hmm…that seems very interesting! Why did you go into the field and study that you are in today?
Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to go into the sciences. While I can’t remember my childhood exactly, my parents nurtured my curiosity and encouraged me to learn – and learn I did. Science as I saw it was all about how things worked, and it was interesting. There was so much to know, so many things that didn’t necessarily work like you’d think they would, but which promised to reveal how they worked if you fiddled with them. I was probably a little spoiled by Bill Nye and The Magic School Bus and related shows, but however it came about I’d been saying “I want to be a scientist” since second grade, even before I fully grasped what it would entail. Later, in middle and high school, I turned to genetics because it seemed to have a lot of potential, and still have lots of unknowns to chase. This was further encouraged by my family and advisers, since they also recognized the potential for biotech careers and that sort of thing; they were (openly) looking out for my potential job market as well (and discouraged me from Philosophy as an alternative).
As to this specific bit of research? A little happenstance, and a lot of “it’s my project for now”; of the rotations I did at the start of grad school, it was the one that held my attention the most. After I get my doctorate, I do not expect I’ll continue work in the same vein. While I’m still considering, I think I’d like to go into research on senescence – aging and ideally the prevention thereof.
Oh, yeah…I love Bill Bye.
Who are your favorite scientists?
As to favorite scientists, it depends on how you mean. I enjoy the company of most of the folks I work with, and there are lots of great men and women who could be role-models.
Have you ever thought that in the future, would ever consider changing fields within science?
As to changing fields? Maybe; in the far-flung future I could see myself doing lots of things, but for the moment I’d like to become more experienced within genetics and biochemistry.
Have you ever thought about teaching at the University level so you can research and teach?
I’m strongly considering continuing in academia, which would involve post-doctoral positions and ideally professorship; I enjoy teaching, and would indeed like to do so alongside research if I get the chance. However, it’s dependent upon how well I can reach my goals in the mean time.
Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you!