My research is focused on maternal physiology during pregnancy and lactation. We are interested in understanding how use of antidepressants impact pregnancy and bone health in pregnant and lactating animals/women. We are also interested in how use of antidepressants impact the offspring exposure to the antidepressants during the neonatal and lactation periods. We are also interested in how calcium is involved in regulation of health during the periparturient period in dairy cows.

What is your education/career background? 

I have a bachelor’s in Animal Science, a master’s degree in Animal Science with a minor in Toxicology, and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry. 

How have you navigated a career in STEM as a woman/underrepresented minority? 

It has been hard. I have made the most of every opportunity presented to me. I also have always prioritized being involved in service activities to give back to others from a similar background as me to help guide them so they can see there is a path forward. I have also worked on improving graduate student life (from stipends to recommendations of faculty mentor training), as well as volunteering wherever I can. Finally, I would say, you have to be willing to participate, things can change, it just takes work and participation. Nothing will change if no one tries to help institute change. 

What advice do you have for women/underrepresented groups pursuing an education/career in STEM? 

Find the appropriate mentor who matches you as a person. Science can always be interesting, but mentorship is the most critical aspect of graduate school. This person will guide you and cheer you on, and you have to make sure you find the right match. Seek out other mentors that can be important for you in other aspects of your life as well. Finally, find your people. Graduate school is hard and it is so important to have a community.  

What do you enjoy most about your career/current role? 

Mentoring graduate students. It is why I am in academia. I love watching students grow and become confident in themselves and their science. It is so rewarding to watch this. 

What does diversity, inclusivity, and equity look like to you in your job sector? How do you incorporate DEI in your position? 

On the biomedical side of my research, there have been a lot of changes that are positive from gender to ethnicity to race. It is clear it has been a priority for a long time. On the agricultural side, there is still a very long way to go. However, this has recently become a priority of the association and is something that is currently being instituted and worked on. I hope we can move things in a more positive direction. 

What is your favorite way to unwind? 

I exercise. It keeps me sane and helps me clear my head in the morning before work. I always feel better when I do. I also like doing things with my kids and husband. We are at a stage where we are constantly running around, but it is so much fun. 

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