Marie Vastola was a STEM scholar in 2015, when she did molecular biology research in the laboratory of Dr. Irv Weissman at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University.

Where are you from?

Northern California. I grew up in the Bay Area and then moved to Pacific Grove.

Where did you go to school? What did you study?

I went to Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia, PA. I majored in biology and minored in health studies.

What was the best part of your internship?

I absolutely loved my internship; I had fun and I made great friends but one of the best parts was learning how to work in a fast-paced and intense environment. The experience also helped me narrow down my interests and decide what to focus on in the future.

What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns? 

It’s important to find the right balance between pushing yourself to work harder and not letting work be the only focus in your life. It’s awesome if you want to work late, but you should give yourself time to relax too.

What are you doing now?

I am a clinical research coordinator in the radiation oncology department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I work for a radiation oncologist who is the principal investigator on a number of clinical trials and I ensure we follow the research protocol by working with both patients and doctors.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?

I hope to be done with medical school and doing my residency in infectious disease, oncology, or internal medicine. It’s too early to decide!

What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?

I just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It’s a really funny and sharp novel about a scientist who struggles as he tries to connect with others. I would definitely recommend it and just the other day I saw that a sequel has come out so that is next on my list!

Tell us a fun fact!

Last weekend my friends and I did a 203-mile relay race from the mountains to the beach in New Hampshire and we were the fastest women’s team. We didn’t get a lot of sleep.

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