My road in life has taken me all over.
I had no idea what I wanted to do in high school, so I joined the Marines.
The military wasn't for me, so I found a way to get out of it thinking the worst of life was over.
Enrolled in community college to finish my high school education and become a master chef.
Realized I really didn't like working in kitchens and changed my major from food service to Business.
Had a business teacher that really encouraged me to go into engineering or science.
Completed several science and math classes and transferred to a local university.
Upon finishing my BS in medical technology, I was asked if I wanted to join a research lab.
Decided I really like research and continued on to finish by PhD in Immunology at UNC Chapel Hill.
Keep following my journey


Research Scientist

I perform biomedical research to determine where the HIV virus resides in infected individuals that otherwise have their disease controlled with anti-retroviral medications.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Problem Solving

Day to Day

Most mornings I spend awaiting arrival of a clinical sample taken from a person with HIV. I then process the sample to extract a particular type of cell that I'm interested in studying. Because this is research, the methods and techniques I use to study these tissues change frequently, but always involve the use of a lot of pretty complicated instrumentation. The one used most has lasers to excite molecules to emit light at a different wavelength allowing for detection of cell proteins.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

If you're in college (or even high school), it's important to gain as much experience as possible working in a research lab. This can be pretty easily accomplished by asking professors or teaching assistants if there are volunteer positions available in their labs, or if they know of any in other labs. There almost always are such positions somewhere. The first step is just to ask!

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:



The Noise I Shed

From Friends:

"You should pick a college major that will lead directly to a good or well paying job. That having a good job was the most important thing. While a good job is certainly important, it's not everything. If you don't like or love what you do on some level, you're in for a long and mostly miserable existence. People said studying anything in the humanities was a waste of time and money. It's turned out to be the opposite really."

Challenges I Overcame