How many of us are doing the exact career our high school self thought we’d be doing?
Most of us had no clue what our lives would hold at 17-18 years old, but at the end of high school we have to choose what degree to pursue and where it might lead us.
Those who pick science degrees are told their future will hold titles as medical doctors or university professors. But Chloe Kirk, a PhD student researcher at the University of Miami, urges young students to see a science degree as a way to keep the door open to endless possibilities and combine interests!
Chloe argues that a science degree trains you with important multifaceted skills of critical thinking and problem solving to set you up for success for multidisciplinary fields from venture capital, running a biotechnology or pharmaceutical business, science writing, science policy, science communication, and so much more.
In her undergraduate education, Chloe knew she loved science research, but what specific area? She had no idea. She also loved law, having participated in mock trials all through high school, but didn’t see a way to connect the two interests together.
Now a fourth-year PhD student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program, Chloe found her research passion in cell biology by exploring multiple research internships in her Bachelor’s degree.
She has also been able to connect her interest in law by volunteering with her university’s technology transfer office, who work on patenting and licensing scientific discoveries, and as an ASPET science policy fellow, communicating with legislators the importance of funding scientific research. Chloe remarks that she had no idea how multidisciplinary her science degree could be and the abundance of opportunities to connect her multiple interests together.
In the spirit of sharing what she has learned to other scientific trainees and young future scientists, she runs a STEM blog on Instagram, where she not only showcases her daily life in the lab but also shares her multifaceted passions for reading, science discoveries, traveling, and baking. Recognizing that there is still a gap between the general public and science, Chloe helps the non-scientists understand the field.
Chloe is a part of various prestigious science organizations, recently presenting her work at the annual ASBMB and AACR conferences. She is also the co-founder and co-managing director for her department’s student government, aiming to make science more accessible with science outreach programs. With her student government, Chloe secured outreach grant funding from ASCB and ASBMB to host two high school field trips, each for 60 local high schoolers to come to the university to see hands-on research.
As an advocate for STEM empowerment and diversity, Chloe co-founded the Florida chapter of Nucleate, a boston-based academic trainee-led nonprofit with the goal of democratizing biotech education for all. She also is one of her university’s research commercialization fellows aiding development and promotion of marketable research from the university.
Chloe is an inspiration for people who want to combine their passions by sharing her academic life as well as her hobbies, such as traveling and baking, on social media.
A globetrotter at heart, Chloe dedicated every free moment during her five month internship in Japan to exploring the local life, from seeing the famous cherry blossoms to experiencing Golden Week. After graduating with her Bachelor’s, she took a month backpacking trip around Europe and regularly travels within the US from white water rafting in Pennsylvania to exploring the Florida Keys. Chloe also loves to bake, finding it a great de-stressor, especially for someone who is juggling so many interests.
For a glimpse into Chloe’s adventures in science, travel, and mouth-watering cooking escapades, head to her website and Instagram.