NAME: Taylor Medwig-Kinney
EDUCATION: I received my B.S. in Biology (Developmental Genetics) and Health Science (Public Health and Community Health Education) from Stony Brook University in 2016. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Genetics at Stony Brook University as well.
RESEARCH INTERESTS: I am interested in the process of cell differentiation, or as I like to describe it, how cells decide what they are going to be when they “grow up.” I am particularly interested in how regulation of gene expression can give rise to many diverse cell types, despite these cells having identical genetic material.
CURRENT RESEARCH: I study how cells become invasive during development of the nematode C. elegans in the Matus Laboratory. This work can provide insights into how cancer cells metastasize and spread to other parts of the body.
FUTURE GOALS: My ultimate goal is to pursue a career in academia as a professor with my own research group, where I can teach and mentor future generations of scientists.
Why did you want to be a part of GWiSE?
I wanted to get involved with the GWISE club because of the professional development opportunities and sense of community it offers. The Grad Moms group also has been an invaluable source of support as a mother in academia.
What/who got you interested in your field?
I first developed my passion for scientific inquiry through my high school’s Science and Technology Research Program, coordinated by Ms. Maria Zeitlin. It wasn’t until I took a Developmental Genetics Laboratory course with my then professor, now advisor, Dr. David Matus, that I became inspired to study developmental biology. Because of these experiences, I put a lot of effort into teaching and mentoring so I can hopefully inspire others to get interested in science too.
When did you know you were interested in pursuing a degree in science/engineering?
I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in science since high school, but I wasn’t aware that a Ph.D. was an option until I began my undergraduate studies.
What do you think needs to happen for there to be more women in science/engineering?
In the life sciences, women make up more than half of the students earning Ph.D. degrees, yet are significantly underrepresented at the level of tenure-track faculty. I feel that one way to combat this “leaky pipeline” is to offer more support to women in academia to balance family and career, including paid maternity leave, extensions on early stage investigator status, affordable on-site childcare, etc.
Name one achievement/award/moment that you are proud of and why:
I felt very proud of myself when I found out that my NIH F31 fellowship was funded. I submitted my application 7 weeks after returning from maternity leave, so it was the first real validation that I could continue to be successful as a scientist after becoming a mother.
If you didn’t have to sleep what would you do with the free time?
If I didn’t have to sleep, I’d do my lab work at night while my son is sleeping so I can spend the day with him!
What career did you want to pursue when you were in elementary school?
In elementary school I wanted to become an artist when I grew up. While I ended up choosing a different career path, I believe that science still offers an outlet for creativity and being artistic. For example, as a visual learner myself, I usually draw out scientific concepts for my students and mentees. Additionally, microscopy images that I captured in lab were recently featured on the cover of the journal Development.