Lydia's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Team T.B.D.

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Boston, MA

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 10

  • ON DVD:

LYDIA VILLA-KOMAROFF

Molecular Biologist & Chief Scientific Officer
Cytonome

“There's really never any end to the questioning of 'What should I do next in my life? Am I doing the right thing? Am I spending my time correctly?' The only thing you really know is that your time is limited. You have to do the thing that makes you feel good.”

INTERESTS:

Business Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Negativity Perseverance Struggle Self-Reflection Doubt Community Support & Encouragement Individualism Hard Work Choices Instincts Failure

FOUNDATION:

Learning and Being Challenged

TAGS:

challenges, chemist, chemistry, childhood, children, comfort zone, curing cancer, diseases, effort, hard times, mentors, minority, MIT, rewarding, role models, SACNAS, separating cells, tomboy, tough it out, women

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Currently works in a lab that is separating cells for therapeutic use.
  • Says she was a tomboy when she was growing up; thinks this prepared her to work in a field full of men later in life.
  • Went to the University of Washington-over 1,000 miles from her hometown of Santa Fe-because she wanted to leave her comfort zone.
  • Had a college counselor tell her, "You're not doing well in school because women don't belong in the chemistry major."
  • Switched over to biology, but continued in her pursuit of becoming a scientist.
  • Received a doctoral degree in cellular biology from MIT; was only the third Mexican-American woman to get a doctorate in the sciences.
  • One day, she went to a national meeting of Mexican-American and Native American scientists-17 people were in attendance.
  • They knew that number was too low, so she helped develop the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

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