Friday, 14 June 2013

Who's this?

My name is Mary and I work at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Cambridge, UK. I'm writing this post because I'm about to participate in a panel for the Sex in Science event on the Genome Campus, and I thought it might be handy to post a summary of where I'm coming from before I get up on stage.
I'm very nervous.


Where to start? Let's see.
I spent my teenage years in Belgium, and moved back to the US for my final year of high school. I attended an experimental four-year college in Massachusetts called Hampshire, where I stuck with the squares in Natural Science and studied skeletal biology. My first job after college was in Seattle as a receptionist for a prosthetics lab, where I received no phone calls but typed and scanned a book on fitting a prosthesis into Microsoft Word. I was not hired there because I was not "effervescent enough". After that, I effervesced as a research assistant in a gait laboratory in Boston for a few years, then got into publishing at a company just across the river.
After working some other nutty jobs, I moved to New York, working as production editor then manager in scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishing at John Wiley & Sons, where I also helped form the WileyCats: a women's soccer team with a knack for spectacular losses. I moved to Belgium - following my husband's job - and had two girls while  volunteering as producer then editor/producer of a magazine for parents. I eventually took a paid job writing science news and other things with a fun group at a Greek company on behalf of the European Commission. I applied for a job at EMBL in Heidelberg in 2010 but, in a stroke of luck, was instead invited to interview at EMBL-EBI in the UK. I started as an outreach officer in the Training team, and am now the communications officer in the External Relations team.

My job is awesome

My job requires being interested in things. I love that. I write and edit things for print and the web, which entails interviewing and maintaining contact with all kinds of people - not just here, but throughout EMBL and our partner institutes. Most of the people I'm surrounded by have a calling, and love what they do. Who could ask for more?

What else?

Don't tell anyone but, inspired by my sister, I am trying to learn the ukulele. I've always been a keyboard person and have had no luck with the guitar. But four strings - come on! This thing is great!