About Thriving in Science

Many who pursue graduate education in the sciences receive valuable training in how to do outstanding science. We are taught that the science we dedicate much of our lives to is inherently driven by rational and systematic experimental efforts. We read hundreds of papers that tell stories of how a research team developed a brilliant approach to address a timely question of great relevance to a field; these stories are told as though the approach immediately worked and led to a high-impact publication.
However, the training we receive and the papers we read fail to adequately convey how much failure is a natural part of the creative process. Contrary to what many of us may instinctively think, our careers will often be shaped less by the experiments that didn’t work and more by how we deal with the letdown of a failed experiment. All too often, developing the resilience needed to succeed is a solitary endeavor that drives many from careers in science.
Thriving in Science is a campus-wide effort at U.C. Berkeley that is designed to make succeeding in science a community interest. It seeks to spark a conversation among younger-career scientists about how to have a fulfilling career in science. The premise of this program is that scientists can improve their chances for success in their careers by working together to address many of the personal challenges and issues that often limit them.

Meet the Thriving in Science (TiS) Executive Board!

∙ Chelsea Willett has been a graduate student in the department of Earth and Planetary Science since Fall 2014, studying isotope geochemistry and thermochronology. She was lucky enough to start at Cal just as Thriving in Science was getting started.

Peer Group Coordinators:  
∙ Sarah Leinwand is a postdoc in Kristin Scott's lab in MCB and HWNI. Her research investigates how circuits and activity in the brain mature during development to support adult behaviors.

Speaker Series Coordinators:
∙ Chelsea Willett (also listed under Director).
∙ Emilia Zin is a PhD student in the Vision Science Department studying gene therapy in inherited blinding diseases in the Flannery lab. Her project is on studying models of lysosomal diseases in the nervous system, and more specifically, the retina.

Kelly Byrne is a fourth year PhD student in the Vision Science Graduate Group. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Silver, her research examines the neurochemical correlates of plasticity in the fully-developed human visual system. In addition to conducting research, Kelly is passionate about advancing STEM education and enjoys working with Bay Area Scientists in Schools, the National Student Leadership Conference, and other outreach organizations.

Founders and Co-Directors:

∙ Troy Lionberger (PhD) and Diane Wiener (PhD)

Thriving in Science Board Alumni:

∙ Daniele Monahan (Co-Director 2016-2017) is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry. She uses femtosecond lasers to study the fundamental electronic energy transfer properties in applications ranging from semiconductors to natural and artifical photosythetic light harvesting.

∙ Rebecca C. Fan (Co-Director 2016-2017) is a postdoctoral visiting scholar. Her area of work is interdisciplinary informed by social-legal studies, political ecology, and international human rights law & policy. Her research interests include: the role of science in the neoliberal market of nature and biocultural diversity, inter alia.

∙ Antony Lee (formerly event support staff) is a graduate student in physics. His research focuses on the development and use of single-molecule techniques to study transcription by RNA polymerases. He has been involved in Thriving in Science since its beginning!

∙ Alyssa Rosenbloom (formerly a Speaker Series Coordinator) did her PhD at UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cellular Biology examining mitochondrial fission with super resolution microscopy. As a postdoc, Alyssa studies the effects of dynamic signaling on adult neural stem cell fate decisions. 

∙ Nicole Haloupek is a former Peer Group Coordinator who completed her PhD in molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley in 2017. She is now a full-time science writer.