Jessica is an advocate and blogger
Jessica M. Sido
My name is Jessica, I was the first person in my immediate family to get a college degree and I am the only Ph.D. in my extended family.
I grew up hearing things like “I have no idea where you came from” from my family who encouraged reading and learning but could not quite understand how going to school forever was going to help me find a job. My science journey has never looked like the well-planned paths that I have seen described by very impressive people in seminars, but I am here to tell you that you do not have to come from a “science family” to be part of the science community.
I attended a small state school, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUe) for my undergraduate degrees. My BA in Anthropology helped me to recognize commonalities rather than differences and instilled in me a desire to work with people of all different cultures and backgrounds. I use these skills every single day as I navigate collaborations, mentor/trainee relationships, and science communication. My BS in Genetic Engineering served as a stepping stone to my first paid science job as temporary help and then finally as an intern. The work experience I was able to rack up while working as an intern (at a corn-to-ethanol research center) included analytical techniques, lab management skills, and even industry-standard good lab practice. At the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, I began working with mouse models of human disease and marijuana-derived compounds. As a grad student, I published manuscripts, developed protocols, mentored upcoming students, and ultimately defended my dissertation in 2015.
Since defending I have completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Dana Farber Cancer Institute and worked at a small biotech start-up. My love of science has grown from a lab-based focus to a communication-based focus. My outreach work online has allowed me to work with people from around the globe. Twitter, and now my blog, allow me a platform to help students from all walks of life and all stages of their academic careers. I know how important it is to be able to lean on someone while going through the academic process, so now I do what I can to help others on their science journeys.
"There are so many things people expect you to just know, and I didn’t know any of them. I want to help because college is hard enough without adding to the imposter syndrome."