The “Non-Practicing” Scientist and How She’s Here to Help YOU

By Heather Burkhart

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Gaia Vasiliver-Shamis, the Director of Career Development for Postdoctoral Fellows at Emory University School of Medicine, and what she likes to call a “non-practicing” scientist. She may not currently be doing her own research, but she hasn’t forgotten what it’s like. Her dedication to helping scientists everywhere succeed is a true inspiration to all of us who wish to make the world a better place; and not only that, but the very assistance she gives others in turn creates the possibility for scientists to get out there and do what they’re meant to do and improve the world themselves. We all know what is said about karma, but she can nevertheless be perfectly lovely at times.

When did your interest in science begin?
My interest in science started at a very young age. As long as I can remember myself, I was always interested in science. I come from a family of civil engineers and architects, so this may have played a role in enticing my interest in STEM in general. I’m not sure what sparked my specific interest in life science–maybe part of it was me spending summer camps at the Weizmann institute (my grandfather worked there, though he wasn’t a scientist)–but I was always fascinated by biological systems and how they work. Throughout my school years I took science courses, including during summer vacations (yes, I can be a real nerd) in biology, microbiology, anatomy and more. These courses really deepened my interest and passion for life science, as they had a lot of hands-on components.

How did the decision to pursue science affect other choices in your life, if any?
My love for science affected many of my life choices. This might be a great example: I —> Read More