Women's History Month Stories

Catalina Lee Chang, PhD

CRI CLIP Investigator
Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Northwestern University

Why did you pursue a career in science? 

My interest in scientific research started at a very young age when I dreamt about being a
scientist at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. I was inspired by many virologists, immunologists, and
clinicians who were rushing to find a cure for HIV.

What are you most proud of in your career? 

As a first-generation college graduate and child of immigrant parents, I have seen many boundaries surrounding my “dreams”. So far, I have been able to break them to build a soul-filling career.

In addition, I am incredibly proud of my lab members. This all-star team merges forces daily to find a cure for brain tumors.

Who is a woman/mentor you admire? 

I admire my mother and my three sisters. They taught me about perseverance and resilience, which have given me a solid foundation for facing many challenges in this profession.

I admire every woman scientist who has contributed to breaking boundaries and moving the field forward.

What advice do you have for women who are entering the field of science?  

Sometimes, you may feel that you do not belong to this game because you think you are not “good enough.” Trust the process and keep moving forward, and you will overcome those fears! Most importantly, choose the right mentor who will help you build your confidence.

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