I wish to continue doing what I am doing and hope that it will benefit mankind.
The plan is to apply for postdoctoral positions in my field and see where that makes me end up, with the ultimate goal being a faculty position. But I’m also going to have to make considerations about whether I want to live away from my partner (herself an academic) for another few years, or if I would rather leave the field if it meant that I got to live with her. I love my research! But I do need to consider all my options and which is the most meaningful to me.
In the short term, I will be transitioning to working full time this summer as a Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin Space in the Advanced Programs division, focusing on Human Space Exploration. I intend to stay as a practicing, hands-on engineer for quite a while, working closely with innovation, design, and development of projects – most likely in the aerospace industry, particularly Space. Long term, I’m keeping my options open to pursuing whatever I’m most excited about and think I could have the biggest impact on. My goal is to continue to challenge myself and try new things. This could mean going to get a masters degree in engineering or policy, it could be shifting into Space and/or Technology Policy, or it could be moving into engineering for film and entertainment. I don’t have all of it mapped out, but I trust that there are many great opportunities to pursue. I’ve already been inspired to do so much thanks to engineers, leaders, and mentors that I’ve seen before me, and I’m excited for that to continue.
Juri Miyamae (Earth and Planetary Sciences)
Oh dear, that is a question I have to confront with increasing urgency! After finishing a PhD, I would like to do a postdoc that continues upon my work on mammalian facial muscles, but incorporates more behavioral and biomechanical data from live animals. Thinking about how animals function and interact with their world in relation to their bodies will hopefully give us insights into how to solve a variety of human problems, allow us to better care for animals in captivity and secure their future survival in the wild, and allow us to appreciate the wonderful unseen lives of the creatures around us. Wherever I end up (and it could be anywhere), I hope it will be a place that values curiosity and where I can apply an integrative and holistic approach to answering questions.
Martha Muñoz (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
I hold that my most shining moments are ahead of me. I know I want to keep doing research, keep training students, and make more discoveries. But I also hold space in my heart and mind that the ways in which I do this expand as I continue to grow. I could not have dreamed even at 25 that I would even be here. Who knows what dreams will crystallize when I am 45. I am excited for the dreams not yet known.
I think there’s an expectation that by the time you hit this point in your career all of the dreams are met and now you just get to coast until retirement. I can’t live like that. I’m a very driven person and I need to continually find new fuels, new ways to grow, and new questions to ask. I’m the kind of person who feels happiest in perpetual motion. So, my only expectation for the future is that my dreams and goals will evolve and that the ‘best’ will always be yet to come.
Nazar Chowdhury (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology):
“The importance of making STEM welcoming is on everyone. For doctors, that’s people of my ethnicity or religion to go back to communities and the people trying to become like them. I think teaching will be part of my career. I think medical education will be part of my career. I want to be part of developing these curriculums. I want to get involved with a few programs at Yale Medical School with teaching high school students. Giving back to those communities, giving back to Muslim communities will be important. I think COVID is a great catalyst, though a tragic one, to encourage people to pursue it. My goal is to have even more people interested in medicine, to know the path they want to take, and to have mentors to guide them. So we knew people in each of these pathways already and without them it would be much harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For me, I’d love to go back and teach whether at university or high school level to give back and see how I can get the community involved in medicine.”