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#STEMStories: Kimberly, Assistant Laboratory Director, USA

1. Say hi :) who are you what do you do?

I am an Assistant Laboratory Director within the STEM field of Translational Breast Cancer Research. My overall function is to multi-task between numerous research- and administrative-related needs within the laboratory. Our laboratory’s main objective is to focus on generation new and optimizing current treatment strategies for patients across the or patients across the breast cancer spectrum by delineating mechanisms of resistance to standard-of-care therapeutics and metastasis for each breast tumor subtype. Our lab engages in frontier-level approaches that integrate big data science (“omics”) to gain a better overall understanding of how genetic aberrations in breast cancer cells influence disease characteristics and therapeutic response.

2. How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?

Simple curiosity is what caused me to choose my career field. During my childhood, my father went back to school to complete his college coursework while working full-time. During that time, he would allow me to look through his textbooks. I was so intrigued by his Anatomy and Physiology courses that it ultimately lit an intellectual fuse.

While in high school, I participated in University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Upward Bound Math and Science Program. The program gave me my first opportunity to express a natural zeal for changing the world with science. By the time I entered college, I knew my path would be coated in biomedical gold. Working with my predoctoral mentor, Dr. Kevin Pruitt, helped me narrow my research focus to oncology.

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

My kids. At such a young age, they already look up to me. It feels great to make them proud.

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

My stress relief comes from working out, music, and cuddling/laughing with my loved ones. I don’t take for granted that I can escape from my work and get completely engulfed in those three things. You have to remind yourself that you are not alone and you have people and things that are there to help you along the way.

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

At this point of my life, I am my role model. It sounds really conceited but I previously did not give myself the credit I deserved. However, within the past couple of years, I’ve allowed myself a couple of “pats on the back”. You should consistently reflect on your accomplishments and celebrate yourself whenever possible.

6. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Everything you’re doing now will benefit you over a decade from now. Keep it up.

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

  1. Find the confidence in what makes you different. Do not let intimidation from those that are not like you prevent you from following your dreams. What makes you unlike everyone else will one day be your strength; don't hide it, let it shine.
  2. Hard-work and discipline will never fail you.
  3. Your dream job can be CREATED if it is currently not available.

8.  How do you measure your success?

Happiness; within me and what I project.

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

You can find my work listed on LinkedIn, Pubmed, and Google Scholar just by
searching Kimberly R. Holloway.

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

Yes.

Twitter handle: @KimHollowayPhD
LinkedIn profile: Kimberly Holloway, Ph.D.