I always loved science growing up and often gave my family impromptu lectures about all the cool things I learned in class that day.
Dr. Laura Keffer-Wilkes (MSc ’12, PhD ’16) is an instructor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, this year's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Scholar, a Faculty Advisor for the Lethbridge High School iGEM team and Director of SynBridge. She has fully immersed herself in the world of STEM and, through her work, hopes to "instill a love and respect for science in younger people."
What excites you about your work?
I get to work with a lot of young people just thinking about post-secondary school or just starting their academic journey, and I love seeing them learning and not being afraid to take chances.
What sparked your interest in your field?
I always loved science growing up and often gave my family impromptu lectures about all the cool things I learned in class that day. I think I've always liked teaching because if you can teach a concept to someone else, it really helps you to better understand that concept.
Tell us about the first time you felt really excited about what you were learning?
I've had many great "ah-ha" moments throughout my scientific career. In high school, it was learning the basics of chemistry, while in undergrad, it was getting that first hands-on lab experience. In graduate school, it was designing my own experiments to answer my own research questions. Now, I get to develop synthetic biology projects yearly with a new group of students and learn all over again.
What do you hope to accomplish through your work?
I hope to instill a love and respect for science in younger people. Even if they don't choose to pursue science as a career, they will understand the scientific process and won't be afraid of failing or trying something new.
What words of inspiration would you like to share with the next generation of women and girls?
Science is for everyone! You don't have to be the smartest or the most clever. You have to be willing to learn and be curious. You have to be comfortable failing sometimes. Find a good mentor!
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