Marina Michaud

Atlanta, GA, US
Field of Work 
Emory University
Job Title or "Student" 
Graduate Student
Emory University
PhD in Cancer Biology / Bioinformatics (2025)
Education Level 
In College
Profile Biography 
When I was younger, my mother would perform hands-on science experiments with my siblings and I gathered around the kitchen table. We would build circuits to light up LEDs, make gooey slime, and watch chemicals transformations occur before our eyes. I quickly fell in love with STEM and became perpetually curious about the science that underlies our world and daily lives. As a former chemical engineer, my mother was a role model for us of what female scientists looked like. Her influence ultimately inspired my sisters and me to pursue careers in STEM ourselves.

When the time arrived for me to apply to colleges during my senior year of high school, I dreamt of becoming a scientist, but a small part of me wondered if I really could achieve this goal. As much as science fascinated me, I was not sure that I could tackle the challenging problems and questions that scientists were pursuing. My mother though assured me that as I began college, I would gain the knowledge and skills that I needed to become an effective scientist. She was absolutely correct, higher education provides the privilege to learn and grow in the subject areas that interest and excite you. I am now extremely grateful that she inspired and encouraged me to become a scientist.

I attended Georgia Southern University where I earned my B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry. I was primarily interested in the relationship between chemistry and medicine and wanted to be able to develop medications for people suffering from disease. I, therefore, began my first research project with the mentorship of another female chemist. We were working on designing an artificial blood substitute that could be used to treat patients suffering from diseases like traumatic brain injury and sickle cell anemia. It felt like a surreal experience to be able to make contributions to science and medicine like I had dreamt of as a young girl.

After I graduated, I went on to spend two years as a research scientist at two different global leaders in the materials industry, where I learned about how various scientist work together to develop and manufacture the everyday products that we use. I also learned more about how critical computer science and technology are to enable everyday science and scientific advancements.

Now, I conduct research and study full-time as a graduate student earning my Ph.D. in Cancer Biology (side note—did you know that you can get paid to earn your PhD in STEM?!). The lab I currently work in focuses on developing computational tools to study cancer and other human diseases. I love discussing graduate school and careers in STEM, so if you may be interested in chatting about pursuing a STEM degree/career, please reach out!

Outside of science, I enjoy listening to podcasts, reading nonfiction, and hiking/kayaking with my dog, Nova!

Please feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in any classroom/organizational partnerships in the Atlanta area (or online via Skype/Zoom), or if you would personally like to get in touch about becoming a scientist! I would love to connect!

Lastly, on a more sentimental note, for any future scientists reading this, know that you do in fact absolutely have what it takes to become a scientist. You have a unique perspective and innovative ideas that are essential to advancing science. Science is without a doubt challenging, and you will certainly face obstacles along the way, but you are resilient and capable of overcoming the adversity that you face. Build a support network of people around you that can encourage and uplift you and seek guidance from mentors and role models. You got this! I look forward to seeing what you will contribute one day as a scientist!
Working outdoors, Pets, Computing, Reading, Travel
Race & Ethnicity 
Level of Participation 
After-school visit, In-school visit, Job shadow, Online role model, Summer camp visit
My Experience 
I have been a Role Model many times.
Evenings, Weekdays, Weekends
Career exploration activities, Fun demonstrations or materials, Hands-on activities for students, Identifying other role models, Online Mentoring (email or Skype), Other
Program Affiliation 
SciGirls, Other
Other Program Affiliation 
Association for Women in Science

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