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#STEMStories: Laurie, Graduate Student of Biology, USA

#STEMStories: Laurie, Graduate Student of Biology, USA

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

I’m Laurie Luckritz and I’m a graduate student of biology at the University of Central Missouri. I study frogs and love to do science outreach activities in my community to show how fun science is. Activity kits can be about anything. My activity kits have turtles, glowing algae, and even sea stars!

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

Growing up, I thought I wasn’t smart enough for science or that it would be too hard. I didn’t do well in my biology class in high school. After I took my first science class in college, I realized that anything is possible, learning science is fun and science centers are amazing. You get to find answers to all the questions your parents don’t know the answer to and you get to do a lot of different things while learning.

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

In the sciences, you get to pick the things you really enjoy learning about and focus on that. I get up every day knowing that I’m doing the things I love doing. Depending on what you study in science, you can make your own schedule and work outside or inside. Frogs are nocturnal so I will get to stay up late outside and sleep in early.

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

When I get stressed, I like to take a bath, playing video games, play the guitar or work out at the gym. I love doing a lot of different things. When I first started college, I would record the lectures and listen to them while teaching myself how to juggle. There’s a lot of creative ways to learn things so I like to find ways that work for me.

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

My role models are God and my family. In science, you can have any religion and having a supportive family is something I’m very thankful for. Always be your own role model. Be someone you can be proud of and then be proud of who you are. Focus on what you like and ignore anyone who isn’t helpful. You can do anything you set your mind to and there are programs out there that can help you achieve anything.

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

I would focus less on trying to make other people happy. You deserve to be happy and to find the things you like to do. There’s a place for everyone in the science world. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to fail. Failing is a sign that you’re growing and growing is always a good thing.

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

  1. Your learning and career should always come first before friends and relationships.
  2. Ask questions in your classes. Talk to your professors about things you don’t understand and the things you enjoy. Professors have a lot of helpful tips.
  3. Join clubs or make clubs that do the things you like. Find ways to challenge yourself in those clubs.

8. How do you measure your success?

I measure my success by asking myself whether I made a difference each day. Doing one assignment in a day isn’t a wasted day. Helping someone move from a dorm to an apartment is important. Success is what you make it and it’s all in your head. Use that power.

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

You can find information about my science outreach program in my university student-led magazine The Muleskinner. My outreach club has a handle on all social media platforms @NCSEMissouri. We use Facebook and Instagram the most often.

You can go to my Evolution blog or share it with your non-science friends to learn about important concepts without complex jargon. I post updates about once a month and would love to hear what you think!

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

I’m the most active on Twitter @LaurieLuckritz and I post science-related videos of all kinds and I regularly post updates about myself. You can always message me on there if you have any questions or need anything!

My LinkedIn profile is always open with my name: Laurie Luckritz

My facebook page as of right now is reserved for people I know personally, but you’re always welcome to shoot me a message on there as well!