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Francis Collins
Francis Collins

Francis Collins

Washington, DC USA

"Pick something that you love and not something somebody else says you should love."

Career Roadmap

Francis's work combines: Science, Technology, and Problem Solving

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Day In The Life


I oversee the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Chemistry, General

    University of Virginia-Main Campus

  • Graduate Degree

    Physical Chemistry

    Yale University

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    At the end of high school and through most of college, he was 100% certain he'd be a chemist.

  • 2.

    Stresses "just because something is fun to learn about in a school setting, doesn't necessarily mean it's something you want to do with your life."

  • 3.

    As he saw his fellow chemistry graduate students going into teaching positions, he realized that might not be a path he wanted to take.

  • 4.

    Coincidentally shared a lab with a fellow graduate who was working with DNA; was always more interested in that work than his own.

  • 5.

    Says you might come to a crossroads where you wonder, am I truly changing course to follow a passion, or do I just not have the drive to see my current work through?

  • 6.

    Took the leap and changed course; went to medical school and loved it from day one; says he felt like, "Hallelujah, I've really found it."

  • 7.

    Says in the same way he had a completely different path laid out 20 years ago, he's open to more changes in his path over the next 20 years.

  • 8.

    Wishes he'd known the average person has five careers; started out so worried he'd mess up his one shot at a career that he almost didn't take any risks.