Stephanie Gold is both a stem cell biologist and makeup artist. Her interest in science originally began by her desire to become a dentist. She studied at Pennsylvania State University where she obtained her B.S. in Biology. Her love of science would lead her to the new and exciting field of stem cell biology, where in 2018 she earned her M.S. at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Currently, Gold is an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) fellow at the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C., where she currently lives. Gold’s inquisitive nature doesn’t stop at science, she has found another way to express her interests: makeup. It is a way for her to creatively express herself and discover who she is, crucial attributes that can be directly related to the discovery of new scientific developments.
I have reached out to Gold to learn more about what it means, to her, to be a young creative woman in science. She represents the diversity and uniqueness of STEM fields and I am thrilled to feature her as my first interview in this series. Read on to learn more about what led Gold to where she is now.
What is your field of work?
My background is in stem cell biology and I am an ORISE fellow at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. I work in a lab that does bench research with stem cells.
What is your creative outlet?
I have two creative outlets. Right now, I am really into essential oils, specifically using doTerra. I find it fun to sit down, find DIY recipes, even use them with my dog, Brody. I have a journal where I keep track of the recipes I make and what they’re used for. Also, I love makeup. It’s a huge part of my life. It is so soothing and can be a way for me to fix a bad day. I’ll come home, sit on the bathroom sink and bring in my baskets to do my makeup. Even if I’m not going anywhere and I know I’ll take it off, it’s something that I do when I’m stressed. It’s always been a way for me to relax. It’s a huge part of my life.
What aspect of your career is creative? How do you bring creativity into your work?
As a scientist you have to try something, and if it doesn’t work, you have to figure out what went wrong and where it needs to change. If you can think outside the box and bring your creativity into science, you can figure out that process a little better. But I feel like being creative helps have a different outlook and solves more problems.
What are your scientific and/or creative influences?
When I was younger, I always looked up to my dentist and wanted to be one. That was definitely how I got started with science because I knew if I wanted to go to dental school, an undergraduate degree in biology would be the best way. So, she was the reason why I went into biology. In high school I did not like AP biology whatsoever. When I went to college I went in “undecided” because while I knew I wanted to be a dentist, I thought biology wasn’t for me. It was tough, but I did eventually go with biology as my major. When I didn’t go to dental school my eyes were opened to what I can do with a biology degree and that was exciting to figure out.
At a young age I knew I liked science because for my tenth birthday, I asked my parents for a microscope. I would go around my house and pick up bugs in a petri dish and dissect them under the microscope at the dining room table. I used to dig in the gardens look for bugs. It was so gross! My mom was probably mad at me for bringing them into the house.
I got into makeup when I was going through a hard time. I feel like it gave me the ability to look at myself in a different way, to find out who I am and explore what I like. My best friend was the one that got me started with makeup. She took me to Sephora for the first time. Now my collection is disgusting, and I have a problem! I love watching Jaclyn Hill. She’s my biggest influence right now, I like doing her looks. But I also like to do my own thing and not look up to one person.
Ms. Gold’s creative makeup skills
What does it mean to you, to be a woman in your field?
I think it’s an exciting time. I want to be a role model for younger girls who think they can’t do something. I feel like they should know that other girls are doing it and they can do it too. More so, I’m a first-generation college graduate in my family. I want to represent that and let girls know it doesn’t matter where you come from. Both my parents graduated high school and I have my masters in stem cell biology. I’m also from a small town in the middle of nowhere and I moved to Los Angeles, now I live in D.C. No matter where you come from or what your parents did, you don’t have to label yourself as something. You can follow your dreams. If it doesn’t work out like you thought it was, it will be okay. You’ll figure it out.
Thank you to Ms. Stephanie Gold for this interview.
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