Interviews with ISBers

Every year the high school interns at ISB interview employees about their career path, research, and advice. Below is a list of the interviews from 2004 – 2020 (2021 coming soon) along with links to transcripts if available.

Career PathResearchAdviceFun Facts

“I think one of the things that helped me the most, that I’ve had, was…a background in the humanities. I think it’s less common in the STEM fields for someone to just craft a well-written narrative, you know, register a story. When it comes down to communicating your science to the world, you have to write a paper, recount your results in a narrative, in a story, and if you read most scientific papers, they are just a nightmare…But if you can make your papers more readable, your results will have more impact” –Sean Gibbons

“The education system isn’t structured in a useful way to train students for careers in STEM. Students are like taught to be like encyclopedias which is not useful for problem solving in the science field. As education progresses, science gets more specific and specialized. High school students should get excited about problem solving, and not giving up science disciplines.” –Nitin Baliga

“I started asking a lot of questions about nature rather than simply loving it for its inherent beauty. I started wondering “Why is this thing like that?” and “What impact are we having on the natural world?” I began taking more courses focused on research and learning how we are impacting the world (the animals, climate, and ecosystems).” –Jessica Day

“I think the bigger picture is that I found something that I’m good at, that I love, that improves quality of life for people, and is appreciated.” –Mark Egbert

“Our work was the first to show a very small change in gene expression, if persistent over time, can cause cells to dip into a cancerous state. It really opens up our minds to start thinking about how diseases, like autoimmunity and cancer, can develop in humans as they age; how these age related diseases develop, and how that can actually link to small changes in gene expression accumulating over time. The fact that small changes that are persistent over time can cause these big effects is very intriguing, and I hope that we open up a lot more investigations. –Naeha Subramanian 

“I also think that people are very impressed by initiative, so often that I’ve succeeded with making progress, getting people’s attention, or securing my role in a particular research area by hearing about a problem that we’re going to talk about and really taking the initiative on it! Often that means kind of starting work on something and coming up with a research plan or preliminary findings. Coming into a project saying I’ve thought a lot about this and I got a lot of resources. –Andrew Magis

“Pursue whatever really interests you, and think carefully about your path. Don’t let your peers persuade you into doing something that’s not for you” –Priyanka Baloni

“Hang onto something that’s fundamental to your values in life. Then even if things get really tough, you’ll remember why you are there, and know that what you do matters. Also, pay attention to whether or not a problem you are working on is fun. If not, listen to that instinct and ask yourself why. Maybe it is a problem that can be solved.” –Jennifer Hadlock

“My advice for high school students is to try new things. You’re not going to figure out what you want to do in life straight off the bat. I’d say experiment a little with your interests and eventually you’ll find something that you’re passionate about and finding that ultimate passion is so rewarding and all worth it.” –Naomi Martin

“[If I was a crayon color, I’d] pick some of those new age crayons that had the twisty two color in it. The swirly ones that you can twist it and it will draw different colors. I would pick one of those crayons and if I had to pick a color I’d maybe pick cranberry and orange. I don’t think I could pick between two colors like I can’t pick between art and science either” –Nina Arens

“I went to school as a music major, and I still play music! I play lots of different instruments. I fish a lot as well. I do not take that much time off, to be honest, but when I do I take advantage of the outdoors. I also ride my bike back and forth to work everyday which is 10 miles each way, and so that gives me exercise as well as an hour before and after work where you are not on Zoom or not in meetings working on stuff. –Jim Heath

“When I was younger, I wanted to become a producer or a broadcasting person. I chose a club where I could do those things. It was actually really fun and it became one of my hobbies. It’ll sort of destress you when you find a hobby or club when you get to college.” –Yeon Mi Hwang

STEM Professional Name, with links to the interview transcript (if available)

Abrar Abidi, BS
Alison Paquette, PhD
Amanda Shu
Andrew Baumgartner, PhD
Andrew Magis, PhD (2021, 2020)
Annie Otwell, PhD
Becky Howsmon, PhD
Bruz Marzolf
Chris Witwer
Claudia Ludwig, MEd (2018, 2017, 2007, 2006)
Deep Kaur, PhD
Elisabeth Wurtmann, PhD, MS, CGC
Eliza Peterson, PhD (2021, 2018, 2017)
Gustavo Glusman, PhD (2018, 2013)
Henry Hampton, PhD
Hsiao-Ching Chou
Jake Valenzuela, PhD (2018, 2017)
James Park, PhD
Jared Roach, Md, PhD (2018, 2010)
Jeannine Sieler (2007, 2006)
Jennifer Hadlock, MD
Jessica Day
Jewel Lee
Jim Heath, PhD (2021, 2020)
Josh McBee
Julie Thatcher
Kalliopi Trachana, PhD
Kathie A. Walters, PhD
Leah Rommereim, PhD
Lee Rowen, PhD (2017, 2009)
Leroy Hood, MD, PhD (2021, 2020, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009)
Linnea Stavney
Marc Facciotti
Mark Egbert, DDS
Maryann Watkins
Matt Wall, PhD
Min Pan, Md (2018, 2003)
Monica Orellana, PhD (2017, 2015, 2012, 2010)
Naeha Subramanian, PhD (2021, 2016)
Naomi Martin
Nathan Price, PhD
Nina Arens
Nitin Baliga MSc, PhD (2021, 2020, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2009, 2003)
Phu Van
Priyanka Baloni, PhD (2021, 2018)
Renee Duprel
Rich Bonneau
Robert Moritz, PhD
Robert West
Sean Gibbons
Serdar Turkarslan, PhD (2016, 2016 video)
Theo Knijnenberg, PhD
Venkata Duvvuri, PhD, MS, MPH
Victor Ng
Vivek Srinivas, PhD
Yeon Mi Hwang

Words of Advice 2021 (Andrew Baumgartner, Andrew Magis, Eliza Peterson, Jim R. Heath, Jennifer Hadlock, Kalliopi Trachana, Lee Hood, Naeha Subramanian, Naomi Martin, Nitin S. Baliga, Priyanka Baloni, Venkata Duvvuri, Yeon Mi Hwang)
Words of Wisdom 2015 (Nitin Baliga, Lee Hood, Monica Orellana)
Words of Wisdom 2014 (Sissy Bouchard, Richard Gelinas, Naeha Subramanian, Nathan Price, Sui Huang)
Interviews 2011 (Juan Caballero, Nicolas Pinel, Ryan Pelan)
Facilities Workers 2009 (Becky Johnson, Sean Clisham, Steve Sample)