Ashley Stenzel’s career is focused on cancer epidemiology (a branch of medicine that deals with detection of the source and cause of disease). Ashley earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. Catherine University, her Master’s in Science/Clinical Research from St. Cloud State University, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in cancer research from the University at Buffalo (SUNY). A STEM advocate, Ashley is also author of the book, The ABCs of Women in STEM. Below she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
Cancer science, cancer prevention and control.
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I study different risk factors for developing cancer, or things that might improve how somebody survives after being diagnosed with cancer. I like to look at parts of the immune system and I really love working with global health.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Curious about why things are a certain way, wonder if more than one variable could play a role in certain outcomes. If you care about people's health this may be a good field for you!
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I knew nothing about it. I never heard about epidemiology or the study of controlling and preventing diseases. I started learning about it as an adult, after I had already gotten a degree in biology and a masters degree in clinical research.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I have worked in health care in various roles for 10 years. If there is one thing I know, it's how scary it can be when you feel like you have no control over your own health. I saw many patients with all different diseases feel sad and really upset, and I wanted to change this for the future.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Nobody in this world can tell you what you are and are not capable of except yourself. If you ever hear somebody else try to put you down, remember that you know your own self-worth. You are smart enough and capable enough to join any field in STEM, and you are equally as deserving to be in these fields as anybody else. Follow your curiosities.
Thank you for contributing, Ashley!
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