How Science Became a Part of My Life

I guess you can say that since I was young, science has been a part of my life, even if I wasn't always aware of it. My father has worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory since I was born, and I truly believe that is what began my love for science. I was constantly at the lab, even living in the apartments there for a short time. Not all of my activities in there involved actively learning academics, some were as simple as getting swimming lessons, playing tennis, going to nursery school, or even learning to drive; but I realize now that while I was simply growing up, the world around me was full of role models. I saw scientists, many of them being women, making careers out of what they loved...searching for answers to questions that plagued them, living the life of scientific discovery. Not only did I grow up with this exposure, but my mother has always encouraged me to have a professional career. Her wish is to have me be financially independent, as well as love what I do. From her constant encouragement I set high goals for myself, and became aware of the opportunities that exist for women in science careers.

I went to Shoreham-Wading River High School on Long Island. There I began taking more science courses, and realized that I was interested in making this a career. Science caught my attention because that was the one subject that I identified with the most, the one subject where you can try to answer questions in the world through experiments, and hopefully, produce some evidence that your beliefs are correct. Growing up, I had also been interested in many criminal justice cases for as long as I can remember. I hope to combine these two interests into a career as a forensic pathologist or forensic scientist. I am fascinated by the way new forensic techniques can make the criminal justice system more accurate, and how I could be similar to a detective, but instead of using pure intuition and questioning, can help to solve crimes through scientific facts.

Another interest that is important to me is music. I love listening to most types, and have played the violin for almost ten years now. I received as well as taught private violin lessons, and play as much in my free time as I can. I don't plan to make any kind of a career out of this hobby, but I hope to continue playing on my own well into the future.

Kira Schultheiss
February 2004