Blog > STEMStories

#STEMStories: Kimberley, Biology Student, Zimbabwe

#STEMStories: Kimberley, Biology Student, Zimbabwe

1. Introduce yourself, who are you what do you do?

My name is Kimberley Simphiwe Ndlovu, born and raised in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe 🇿🇼 but studying biology in USA 🇺🇲. I am going to be a PhD student in Microbiology this August at The Ohio State University. I hope to do some research on bacteriophages and phage therapy. I am quite interested in studying bacteriophages, in particular, their molecular mechanisms, ecology and evolution. I believe more research needs to be done in understanding phages as a potentially more effective treatment for infections and as an answer to the antimicrobial resistance pandemic.

2. How did you arrive at this career (or point in your life/work)? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?

I come from a very science oriented family. All my siblings are in the science field. My mom always fostered an inquisitive mind and science seemed to satisfy that curiosity. I always knew that I wanted to be a research scientist, whether in chemistry or physics or biology. My fascination with microbiology was sparked by a college course and something about those microbes drew me in and I fell in love.

3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings?

I start my career as a PhD student this August, however, my love for research and knowing that I'll be discovering new things will be a driving force for me. Also, knowing that my research will go on to help humanity is a great motivation to get up and do the job. I know it won't be easy but I'm looking forward to the challenges.

4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story?

This is an area in my life I am still working on. I admit, I stress too much and sometimes I spiral out of control and get even more stressed out. I am trying a few things that so far have helped which is working out whilst blasting some Afrobeats. That tends to get my mind off stress for a little while. However one thing that works 100% is talking to one of my closest friends who always grounds me and reminds me that I am good enough. I know it's corny but repeating the mantra by Viola Davis from "The Help" really does great wonders. I is kind. I is important. I is smart. And then sometimes I add some different adjectives; I is intelligent. I is confident… you get it.

5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this?

I am truly inspired, in different ways, by people that I meet in my life. I feel like everyone that has come into my life has played an important role in how to live the fullest life. So I guess I have no specific role model. I'm just inspired by most people I meet.

6. What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time?

To slow down, be patient and take it easy on myself! I tend to want to rush through everything and move onto the next thing without fully experiencing and enjoying the moment. This is still a work in progress and I am beginning to see the importance of just enjoying the moment.

7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM?

  • STEM is a male dominated field. It sounds scary but don't let that get to you. Go for those opportunities that may seem like you can't do. Push past the gender stereotypes and choose that career path less travelled because it's a "male job". Tell yourself you'll succeed in the face of opposition because you definitely will! Girls do it better anyways.
  • Don't compromise your morals for the sake of 'peace' or fear to progress in a STEM field. If something bothers you, speak up. Remember you're human first.
  • It's so hard but worth the effort. So enjoy it, work hard, work smart, and remember that whatever you do will make a difference. However, remember to take care of yourself in the process. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

8. How do you measure your success?

By the positive impact it has on our world. Once my work is able to bring about a positive change in the way people live then I'll know that I have succeeded.

9. Where can we find out more about your work?

My first ever article from my undergraduate research is getting published in Aletheia, a journal by the Alpha Chi Honour Society for Undergraduate Scholarship. So look out for that this September. I am just starting in my career so there'll be more work to show after I have settled into my PhD lab and done some more research.

10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you?

My Twitter handle is @kimistry8and here's the link to my LinkedIn profile.