Women's History Month Stories

Simone Park, PhD

CRI Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Pennsylvania

Why did you pursue a career in science? 

I’d always loved science in high school, but I started off studying an undergraduate degree in journalism! Going to college made me realize how much I missed thinking about science and ‘how things work’, leading me to switch to a biology degree instead. From there, I fell in love with wet lab research as an undergrad, and later a PhD student. I love problem solving and the excitement of making new discoveries that could potentially make a difference to disease treatment. This way I get to do something I love, and hopefully help people along the way!

What are you most proud of in your career? 

Starting a new chapter of my research career in the US. Moving to a different country to pursue research away from what is familiar and from family and friends is not an easy decision (and not one that everyone has the privilege to make), but it has allowed me to grow exponentially as both a scientist and as a person. I feel lucky and excited to be doing great science at the University of Pennsylvania with the support of the Cancer Research Institute!

Who is a woman/mentor you admire? 

I’m lucky to have worked with many awe-inspiring women who motivate me to do great science and become a better scientist every day! Brilliant immunologists like my prior formal and informal mentors Dr. Laura Mackay (Doherty Institute) and Dr. Yasmine Belkaid (Pasteur Institute), as well as the amazing women labmates I’ve worked with, in both Australia and the US, throughout my training continue to inspire me to keep pushing to make new discoveries.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, need, or deserve! Women continue to achieve so much in science, but we are still working towards realizing equality for all genders and people in the field. Have confidence in yourself, your abilities, and your value, and don’t be afraid to make yourself and your ideas heard.

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