Stylish Scientists' is a weekly series that brings you an exclusive peek at women in science and their style.
The motto of the 'Stylish Scientist' is: "Always look chic while making a discovery!"
Where are you right now in your science career?
I’m starting the third year of my Ph.D.
Tell us a bit about your research
Our lab is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate stem cell self-renewal. To study this, I’m looking at the role of certain genes and signaling pathways in hematopoietic stem cells and how those genes impact self-renewal and differentiation.
Your earliest fashion memory
When I was little, I wore a lot of dresses, most of which my grandmother made for me. I remember joyfully twirling around in them so the skirt would billow out and then laughing breathlessly after I had lost my balance and fallen on the floor. They were super adorable and I felt great wearing them.
Who and what influenced your style?
I don’t think any one person in particular has influenced the way I dress. I find inspiration from everyone — my friends, colleagues, people I see on the street (people watching is fun). I try to subtly incorporate current trends into my wardrobe but I try to stay away from the ultra trendy since I like to buy items that can be worn for many seasons (gotta stretch that grad school budget). I also try to give myself wardrobe challenges—a couple of years ago I noticed my closet was full of blues, blacks, and greens so I looked for items that had warmer colors. Recently, I’ve been trying to wear more patterns and prints.
Your favorite brands and places to shop
There isn’t one brand that I prefer over others. I’ll often find an amazing dress at one place and a cute top at another so I hate limiting myself to a particular store. To be honest, I tend to gravitate towards the sale rack—there’s a certain thrill when you find something super cute hidden away for half the price (especially at Anthropologie). I would say that probably 75% of what I own was bought on sale.
My wardrobe has definitely gotten dressier since I moved to NYC. The style in the South is pretty laid back. In the hot and sticky summers shorts and flip-flops are staples since they are comfortable and although now I try to wear clothes that have more interest to them (a top with a cut out back, a cute print, a pop of color), comfort is still a driving factor.
Your everyday science uniform
Since EHS has their guidelines, I try to stick to them. I like to wear clothes that I can move around in since I’m often running from room to room trying to get experiments done or climbing on step stools to reach things. I normally wear jeans and a nice shirt/blouse with an occasional dress or skirt worked into the routine. I don’t often work with hazardous chemicals or pathogens so I’m not too concerned about exposure issues. As for footwear, flats are a must; I’m too much of a klutz to wear anything else. My favorite part of getting ready is choosing which earrings I’m going to wear. Most of the ones in my collection were either gifts from friends and family or pieces that I’ve gotten while traveling, so looking through my jewelry box every morning is like taking a trip down memory lane.
What do you think about looking good in the laboratory?
A professor at Carolina used to say, “Never wear anything to lab that you don’t mind getting ruined.” And it’s true, even when wearing a lab coat, between bleach for tissue culture and various dyes for staining, the potential to ruin outfits is there, so on days I know I’m working with these reagents I try to not wear really nice clothes. In general though, I like to wear things that make me feel good about myself—confidence and positivity are always helpful when attempting science. J
Any thoughts about how the general public perceives scientists and their appearance?
I think the general public, unless they personally know researchers, imagine scientists how the media portrays them—either someone wearing bland semi-professional attire hidden under a lab coat (pipetting colored liquid) or someone wearing a really nerdy T-shirt or frumpy/out of date clothing like in Big Bang Theory—when in actuality there is a range. I like that this blog challenges that schema by featuring the varied (well-rounded) personalities and styles of the current generation of trendy young scientists.
How do scientists perceive scientist that dress stylishly?
I’ve never had anyone tell me that they think I’m less capable as a scientist because of the way I dress and I definitely don’t think that of my stylish peers or professors.I personally love it when a well-dressed scientist comes to give a talk and what he/she is wearing matches the quality of the science being presented.
I love spending time with both my science crew and my friends who are in other disciplines. I really love that chats with both groups have taken me all over the city, exploring yummy restaurants, spending lazy days in various parks, cooking delicious meals, attending a variety of performances, and having all around good times. Also, for the past year, I’ve been taking pottery classes, which I enjoy because it forces me to conceptualize and execute my creativity differently than science does. Throwing pots is something that I can measurably see improvement in and there’s a lot of self-satisfaction in that.
All picture are taken and edited by me
All picture are taken and edited by me