What do you do every day?
I work every day to help people live happier and healthier lives. Regardless of the project, the patient is the reason why I work.
Why do you love it?
I love to help people and make life better for them and their familes.
What were your moments of fear and challenges in your career?
One of the biggest fears I encountered was when I relocated my family for a role. I've moved my family four times for my job so I was able to manage the fear. The moves disrupted my children from their friends, family, schools, and extra curricular activities. I was also concerned about my spouse's successful career and didn't want to harm him in anyway. He was very supportive so it allowed us to move.
What are some of the latest innovations in science that you are most excited about?
I'm interested in the newest products to help people collect their own activity data (i.e. fit bit, basis, etc) to begin to address behavior change. To help address the obesity and diabetes epidemics affecting the United States, these tools to help people with behavior change are critical and necessary. The ability to passively monitor one's activity (steps, heart rate, sleep) and to collect the data into on place for evaluation is exciting and important. There's still more work to do! The current "data capture" tools are good, but can still be improved, especially regarding interconnectivity. We then need to see more advancements in the field of behavioral science so our population can slow the epidemic.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Barbara Feringa - High School Chemistry teacher. Mrs. Feringa truly loved science and made it fun. She was so supportive. She encouraged me to participate in the science fair. I'll never forget spending hours in the lab trying to grow penicillin. I had so many issues with the agar in the plates. I remember she asked me to participate in the science olympiad competition. She did what she could with the equipment she had to help prepare us before the competition. She was very flexible as I was an athlete as well and didn't have much time after school. I remember walking into the competition lab and being shocked with the equipment that I was to use, but had never seen before. She encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone, to try things and not be afraid to fail. and to not panic, just try to have a solution.
What is your unique talent?
I'm a great bargain shopper. I have a knack for finding things, typically at garage sales, of high quality for low prices. While I don't get to do this very often anymore, I really enjoyed it. It made me feel good to know that I was also recycling and helping the environment.
Tell us about your personal style.
Wear comfortable heels. Even though I'm tall, I wear heels at work. So many years I'd wear whatever was "cute" but they might really hurt my feet. I now will not compromise comfort for cuteness.
Is there a current book or book you love?
I don't have time to read like I used to. My current favorite book that I read frequently is "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes" by Rose Lewis. It is a child's board book I read to my daughter at bedtime. My husband and I adopted an infant from China in 2012. It is one of the few books that speaks (lovingly) about Chinese adoption.
What is your favorite website or fun activity?
People Magazine - I rationalize reading this gossip magazine as I've actually created new ideas for patient benefit from reading articles or seeing certain advertisements.
Who inspires you?
Serving others inspires me. Locally, within my state, or globally. My family and I traveled to Swaziland to serve orphans in 2011. It was an exhausting and exhiliarating experience. I am an active volunteer with this organization to date. Whenever I think things in my life are tough, I look at the photos of my friends (i.e. children orphans) in Swaziland who don't have daily clean water, regular food supply, a place to sleep, clothing, education or general safety).
What’s next for you?
I aspire to serve in a leadership capacity so I can help others achieve their potential. When I retire, I expect I will run my own non-profit.