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Stephanie Watowich ’83; P'15 - 30 Minutes

Date: Monday, May 5th, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours

Contact: Sarah Rechtzigel, x4296

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STEPHANIE WATOWICH ’83;  P'15 - 30 Minutes: Monday, May 5 1:00-3:00 pm (4 slots)

Major:  Biology

Associate Professor and Associate Dean, MD Anderson Cancer Center,  an internationally renowned cancer treatment and research facility In Houston, TX.

RELATED MAJORS/INTERESTS:   Biology and Chemistry majors as well as other students with interest in a career in biomedical research.   I would be happy to talk about any aspect of my career, balancing career and family or anything else that students would be interested in learning.

JOB DESCRIPTION:  I am on the faculty at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where I run a laboratory that conducts cancer immunology research; I also teach, mentor students and direct cancer training programs.  My main focus is directing my laboratory's research in cancer immunology.  Our goal is to understand how the immune system works and use this knowledge to improve cancer treatment and prevention.  Conducting research involves reading current scientific literature, attending scientific presentations and meetings, and, most important, frequent discussions with collaborators and the folks in the lab about their data, their experimental plans and their manuscript/grant writing activities.  My lab has junior faculty members and graduate students.  We often host summer students.  My lab has a great range of expertise; everyone learns from one another and collaborates well.  We write research papers and grants for our lab and with collaborators, so excellent writing skills are important.  We present our work at scientific meetings, which requires strong speaking and networking skills.  I also teach in graduate courses and mentor graduate students directly or by service on their faculty advisory committees.  In addition, I direct institutional training programs and serve as an Associate Dean at our affiliated graduate school.  Similar to conducting research, these latter activities require excellent organization, administrative and management skills.

CAREER PATH:  After Carleton, I wished to gain more research experience to improve my chance of being accepted into a strong graduate program.  I worked for 2 years as a research assistant at the University of Chicago.  I was then accepted and enrolled in the PhD program at Northwestern University, where I performed my PhD dissertation research on heat shock gene transcription with Rick Morimoto.  I became interested in protein folding and cellular signaling, and joined Harvey Lodish's lab at the Whitehead Institute (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, for my postdoctoral studies.  After my postdoc, I wanted to pursue an independent faculty position.  I was thrilled to be offered an Assistant Professor position at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  Since joining MD Anderson, I've moved up the academic ranks, earning tenure and most recently joining the Deans' office at our affiliated graduate school as an Associate Dean.  My job is dramatically different now, versus when I began my PhD, but each stage has been incredibly rewarding and filled with interactions with wonderful people.

  PhD, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

EXTRACURRICULARS/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  I have been very lucky to have had opportunities to scuba dive at recreational, technical and leadership levels in the Caribbean and across the Pacific Ocean.  My family loves to travel, and many of our vacations center on outdoor activities including diving.  I have several Carleton alums in the family, including my dad (John Sampson, '59), my husband (Stan Watowich, '81), my brother (Greg Sampson, '91) and now my daughter (Marina Watowich, '15).

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This page was last updated on 2 January 2018