February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science when we recognize the significant contributions of women in science and encourage the possibilities of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) for future generations.
In honor of this global celebration we spoke with Aanchal Preet Kaur, a researcher with the Integrated Therapies Laboratory at Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence Cancer Institute of Oregon, about the journey that led her to a career in science and what advice she has for young women considering a STEM education.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue a career in science?
Growing up, my fascination with mathematics and the sciences was evident. Encouraged by influential teachers and inspiring women in the scientific community, I felt a calling towards research. Particularly, my immunology professor during my undergraduate studies left a profound impact on me with her unwavering passion for the subject. Fueled by my own intrigue and hands-on experience with research projects under her guidance, I embarked on a path that led me to pursue a master's in cancer immunology and biotechnology, laying the foundation for my current career trajectory.
What inspires you in the workplace?
In the lab, my team and mentors serve as constant source of inspiration. Their wealth of expertise and passion for scientific inquiry motivate me to strive for excellence daily. Moreover, witnessing the groundbreaking endeavors of distinguished scientists within our organization further fuels my drive to delve deeper into the realms of discovery.
What do you aspire to accomplish in your career?
My goal is to ascend to the role of principal investigator, overseeing a dedicated laboratory focused on identifying innovative targets and platforms to advance cancer therapy standards.
What advice or message do you want to pass on to young women thinking about pursuing a career in scientific research?
To aspiring young women contemplating a career in scientific research, I urge you to pursue your passions fervently. Cultivate your curiosity and fearlessly explore projects and concepts that resonate with you. The field of science is vast and diverse, offering myriad opportunities for every individual to find their niche.
Embrace the journey with enthusiasm and determination, as a career in the sciences is not only exhilarating but also profoundly rewarding.
About Earle A. Chiles Research Institute
Since 1993, cancer research has been the primary focus of the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, the research arm of Providence Cancer Institute of Oregon. Our team of physicians and scientists work together to improve cancer treatment methods – seamlessly joining lab research and clinical trials with medical practice.
Our main area of research is cancer immunotherapy, and with the advancements in genomic sequencing, we are bringing together the power of immunotherapy and personalized medicine to accelerate leading-edge research and groundbreaking discoveries for patients with cancer.