Johanna Rhodes is a scientist and earned her degree from the University of Warwick (UK). Here she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
Infectious Disease and Genetic Epidemiology
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I look at the genetic code that makes up all living things - particularly the things that cause illnesses in people. This code holds clues about where it has come from, how old it is, and what drugs can be used to treat people who are ill.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Interest in documentaries, asking lots of questions, extracurricular reading.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I was given a book by my GCSE teacher (so I was age 15) about genetics because I was asking lots of questions. That's how I became interested in genetic epidemiology and diseases.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
It just really seemed to interest me, even back at school when we weren't going too far in depth. I liked that the DNA code, made up of only 4 bases, could explain everything.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Lots of travelling - next month, I get to travel to America, Brazil and Israel, all to see people I work with. We normally communicate via email or phone calls, but we will occasionally catch up in person. And there is, of course, time for exploring! I also get invited to give lots of talks all over the world.
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
The days of STEM subjects being seen as a 'boys only' career option are over. This job can be what you make it - as creative as your imagination allows, and as analytical as you like. There are endless questions to answer, and if you have a curious mind, STEM will make you very happy.
Thank you for contributing, Johanna!
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