Trisha Stan is now using the knowledge she gained through her academic research career as an assistant professor of natural sciences at the newly launched Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute. Beyond teaching, Trisha has worked to help scientists communicate more clearly with the general public through a podcast she co-founded with Stanford scientists called Goggles Optional – a weekly humorous and informative look at what’s going on in the world of science, and through a band she co-founded through the podcast, which regularly performs songs about science (The Ten Thousand Ways).
“My summer at Stanford in 2007 in the Amgen Scholars Program was a pivotal experience. I had always loved science, but I wasn’t sure I would want to do a Ph.D. or could even complete one. I grew up in a very small, very rural town in Kansas while the school board was debating whether or not to teach evolution in schools. I wanted to learn more about science, how it worked and why it was so controversial. My undergraduate institution has wonderful teaching faculty and I was soon obsessed with science and wanted to learn more about research and graduate school. The Stanford summer research program was incredibly well designed to help me experience what life as a Ph.D. student might look like. I experienced research at a top-tier institution and interacted with incredibly inspiring scientists and fellow students, spending days and nights in the lab and learning how to be a scientist. I learned not only that I could complete a Ph.D., but that I would probably enjoy it. The summer research program helped me develop both the scientific and professional skills I needed to apply successfully to competitive graduate school programs.
Now, I am very passionate about science education. As an assistant professor at Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute, I teach our students that science is a process, not a collection of facts. I myself will not cure a disease or make a Nobel Prize-winning discovery, but I hope that through my work I can improve the function of the scientific enterprise by improving the public understanding of and appreciation for science. My students inspire me every day to be a better critical thinker and communicator and instructor of those skills. They’re the next generation of scientists and leaders, and I hope that I will inspire some students to continue into research careers and become leaders in science. Just as importantly, I hope to inspire the students who do not become scientists to strive continuously for increased scientific literacy in themselves and their communities.”View all Ten To Watch