Beginning to Run
I grew up in a suburb of Boston and was exposed to a variety of sports as a child, including gymnastics, swimming, soccer, tennis, squash, alpine skiing and cross country skiing. I didn't start running, however, until I was 11. I played city league soccer and my town had tryouts for the girls' travel league. There were three teams (A, B and C) with A being the best, C being the worst. Despite my strong desire to be an awesome soccer player, I found myself assigned to the C team, where there were no cuts. It was a blow to my 11 year old ego. That night I complained to my parents about how upset I was and my Dad turned to me and suggested that I start running because it would make me a better player. I was expecting comfort and words like "life is tough but its okay" or "we still love you". I was a little surprised but couldn't think of a reason to say no, and at the time I really did want to get better at soccer! Little did I know how quickly my interest in soccer would dwindle. At the time, my dad was regularly running about 3 miles a few times a week. I took his suggestion to heart and started running that week, my first effort being a grueling, torturous mile in my neighborhood from which I was heartily pooped. But, I kept with it and found out not only did I enjoy running, but I was pretty darn good at it.
|Before the start of Baystate,|
my first marathon
That fall, I started doing intramural cross country at my middle school. Myself and another girl were much faster and had more endurance than the other students, so the teacher suggested that we talk to the high school coach and consider running with that team instead. So, we did talk to the high school coach and started running two days a week with the girls' high school team. From there it just snowballed, I ran my first 5k late that spring, became the XC team manager, joined and captained XC and track in high school and become a runner for life.
The Distances Get Longer
Three days after graduating high school, I flew to Singapore and spent the summer doing research at a Biotechnology research facility. This was my first extended trip away from home, and first time in Asia and I loved it! For ten weeks, I explored all of Singapore, from food to culture, to parks and museums. I learned a lot at work and made great friends. Although I was unable to accomplish much during 10 weeks of work, I was assigned to a project with the objective of delaying the onset of apoptosis in CHO cells.
|Trying pig intestine soup in Singapore|
In April, a few MIT friends ran the Boston Marathon. I proudly spectated and cheered them along. Growing up just outside the city, I always got Patriots Day off from school and made a point of watching the marathon in person. In high school, I always had the notion that some day I would run a marathon, but it seemed pretty far off. However, watching Boston 2005, I got bit by the marathon bug. If my classmates could do it, so could I.
|Rehydrating after Baystate marathon|
The Running Continues
I have since run five additional marathons: the 2006 and 2007 Boston Marathons, the 2009 Austin Marathon, 2011 Miracle Match Marathon and 2011 Little Rock Marathon. I set my PR of 3:35:09 at Austin. I have run five half marathons with a PR of 1:43:32, countless 10ks (PR of 49:00) and 5ks (PR of 21:39). I really enjoy trail running, and since moving to Austin have run five 10k trail races and one 30k trail race. But most of all, I simply love to run and it is an integral part of my life. I intend to grow old doing this sport, and there are plenty of races and distances left for me to experience. I don't run *a lot* of races, largely because of the expense and inconvenience, but also because I am perfectly satisfied heading out on the road by myself to explore the world around me.
|Finishing Boston Marathon, 2006|
Long Hours in the Lab
With regards to research, I am primarily interested in cellular and metabolic engineering of a variety of cell types, including bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. As an undergraduate at MIT, I had the opportunity to work on designing a pathway for glucaric acid synthesis in E. coli. Now, as a graduate student, my thesis work involves genetic engineering of human cells, specifically developing more efficient methods for recombinant cell line production. I have also been doing some work in yeast to develop new methods for understanding and dissecting multi-functional proteins (such as epigenetic factors!).
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