Meet our Closing the Gap Guest Speaker for December 2021, Veronika Kivenson!

In this episode, friend of the podcast, Tori Thorp is back! We have guest speaker, Veronika Kivenson on the show and we talk about her journey to earning her Ph.D. in Marine Science.

Q. Describe your educational/training background.

Ph.D., Marine Science. BA, Biochemistry

Q. Describe where you work & your occupation.

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the microbiology department at Oregon State University. My research focus is on how microbes expand their genetic code, with implications for understanding the human gut microbiome and marine microbial ecology.

Q. Career-wise, what have been your proudest moments/highlights/accomplishments so far?

My research was published and then featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, and there was a lot of public response (“How the waters off Catalina became a DDT dumping ground”).

Q. What are some of your future goals or things you would like to accomplish?

I would like to continue my research studying bacterial genetic code expansion. This is such a fundamental

topic, and I think it has implications for so many fields- from climate change to human health and synthetic biology.

Q. Many young women might not be aware of the career available in STEM fields. What do you think can be done to spread the word to women about career options in these fields?

I think that connecting with researchers in STEM fields with who they can have genuine conversations with is critical.

Q. Do you have any advice for women who are looking to follow in a similar career path?

I think that there is an amazing article written, here:

https://hbr.org/2021/02/stop-telling-women-they-have-imposter-syndrome

I think connecting with someone just a little further along is key. A high school student talking with a college undergraduate, or that undergrad speaking with a grad student. Many researchers are happy to chat about their experiences and how they got to where they are.

Q. What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?

Walking in the woods with my puppy and scuba diving.

Closing the Gap December 2021 Resources:

  • This episode is available on December 13th. LISTEN HERE!
  • You can download Veronika’s printable Closing the Gap poster here.
  • Want to read Veronika’s published papers? Check them out on Rearchgate.