Four diverse female neuroscientists from a variety of backgrounds, institutions, and career stages share how women can succeed in their careers and tell the stories behind how they’ve built their own.
You’ll hear strategies for dealing with major obstacles, including lack of encouragement, stereotypes about scientists, discomfort with competitive environments, marginalization within organizations, implicit and explicit bias, and childcare.
Additionally, they recount their scientific training, detail their research interests, and note some of the discoveries that have come out of their labs. They also reflect on how leadership and mentoring have helped them refine their career goals and support others. Importantly, they share some of their interests outside of the lab and how they find work-life balance, including how they pursue dynamic careers and find time to devote to their families.
Listen to their stories and read these excerpts for a look into their lives and how they support other female scientists.
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Margaret M. McCarthy, PhD
Margaret McCarthy is professor and chair of the department of pharmacology and a member of the program in neuroscience at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her research program focuses on the influence of steroid hormones on the developing brain. She is a member-at-large for neuroscience and a fellow of AAAS, a past president of the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, and a member of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, the Endocrine Society, and the Society for Neuroscience.
Wendy Suzuki, PhD
Wendy Suzuki is a professor of neural science and psychology at New York University, where she studies the effects of physical exercise on brain function. She is an award-winning scientist and teacher, sought-after lecturer, and author of the popular book Healthy Brain, Happy Life.
Jennifer Swann, PhD
Jennifer Swann is director for student success in Lehigh University’s College of Arts and Sciences. During her more than 30 years as a principle investigator, she has worked with more than 100 undergraduate, graduate, and faculty researchers. She has served on professional development committees for SfN and the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology and advisory boards for the Capstone Institute at Howard University, the neuroscience program at Delaware State, the Ascend Program at Morgan State, and the Penn State Eberly School of Science. Additionally, she is one of the tri-chairs for the Council for Equity and Community at Lehigh University. Her scientific work defined multiple circadian oscillators, identified the sex-specific effects of gonadal hormones, and uncovered a novel role for growth factors in the expression of sexual behavior.
Miri VanHoven, PhD
Miri VanHoven is an associate professor at San Jose State University. Her main research interests lie in identifying the genes required for neural circuit formation, function, and plasticity. She received her undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Pomona College and her PhD in genetics from the University of California, San Francisco with Cori Bargmann. She completed her postdoctoral training at Stanford University with Kang Shen.