I was born/grew up in: Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A., then moved to Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan when I was 8 and lived there for 10 years.
I now live in: Ontario, Canada
I completed my training/education at: I attended the University of Guelph where I completed a B.Sc. Biological & Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry
What I do at work
I am a Field Application Scientist in PerkinElmer's food division. I work with our customers to find the best solutions for their unique challenge. I may meet in person, by video or discuss issues by phone. This includes government and academic researchers, food scientists, producers, processors, and colleagues across multiple disciplines. I use a combination of chemistry and other basic STEM skills in my day-to-day work. I specialize in supporting customers who want to learn about our instruments for doing compositional analysis (i.e., what the material is made up of).
I also work with the broader PerkinElmer team to problem-solve and propose innovative strategies for our customers. These problems may be related to food safety, pharma, environmental sciences, and more. We make the best decisions when we work together as a team. I try to ask the right questions, so we can understand each other and arrive at the best decisions together.
My career path is
I don't think I ever knew where I would be, or wanted to be. Things just happened. My parents are both linguists. They let me choose my interests: I had many. Even through university, I changed my major twice. I went into grad school, not knowing if I wanted to do a Ph.D., but I got hooked on my research projects.
After graduation, I was fortunate to have a friend refer me for a job. I joined a biotech start-up as an R&D scientist, synthetic chemist, and project supervisor. I enjoyed it, but the company struggled financially. I left this job and was offered an opportunity to work in retail at an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar. I did this while I continued to job search in my field of study. I loved the experience! I talked to customers about the different products and helped them make selections, and making gift arrangements.
I always loved food and found the science behind it fascinating too. In early 2020, I received multiple job offers, and I decided to take this one. I’m glad I did! Check my LinkedIn profile for more details.
I am motivated by
I am excited by meeting new people and hearing about their experiences and new challenges. I am also really grateful to have such knowledgeable colleagues. Some have been in this industry for decades and have the expertise and willingness to help me continue to learn. My manager is such a wonderful, professional and understanding person. One of my senior colleagues has a process named after him. Another senior colleague is really funny, sincere, and smart. I enjoy learning from him too. I came into this role with less background in food science than most. Being surrounded by such a supportive team makes the job really fun. There's always something new and exciting each day!
How I affect peoples’ lives
When I hear directly from happy customers that we are providing good service, or hear from a colleague their success story, it motivates me. This tells me we are doing the right things. Our company tagline is "for the better". I truly believe that a better world starts with each and every one of us. No matter how small, it is great to know that our scientific contributions are helping our customers ensure quality products. Ultimately, this helps feed a healthier world.
Outside of work I
I have been a hobbyist juggler for about 15 years. I have been helping organize/volunteer at various regional and international juggling-related events. This includes sports competitions related to joggling (juggling + running). I like trying new recipes, audio/video editing projects, and I love plants and animals.
My advice to others
Get involved, and try things. If there are co-op programs or volunteer opportunities, say yes! You get the experience, and you will have a better idea of what types of things you like (or don't like).
- Foreign languages
- Home Economics
- Foods & Nutrition
- Physical Education/Health
- Brought people together
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Liked helping people
- Organized activities for my friends
- Enjoyed working with my hands
- Was motivated by success
- Liked being given specific instructions
- Engaged in volunteer activities
- Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
- Liked to design or build things
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
- Engaged in activities such as fishing
- Learned best "by doing"
- Was homeschooled to balance out my English and Japanese bilingualism.
- Learned to interpret for deaf and translate for blind people through volunteer activities in Japan.