Chemist Lisa Gandolfi's
advice for women in science
We asked Clariant Technical Marketing Manager Lisa Gandolfi for her back story on why she chose to study chemistry and for advice for other women planning to study science.
Do you have any words of encouragement for women to study science or engineering?
LG: Pursue what you love. Science and engineering are very diverse disciplines and the opportunities in them are almost endless. A strong science background can launch you into many career paths and open many doors that you cannot even imagine until they happen. It’s also really important to understand that you don’t have to change yourself to be a scientist. That may have been true in the past but it is changing fast. You don’t have to give up things that are traditionally feminine to be taken seriously anymore. Embrace them and embrace who you are. It will make you unique in your field and take you very far in your career.
How would you describe women’s contributions to science?
LG: Women have always played a critical role in science, though they may not have been as celebrated historically. I think it’s important to better recognize their contributions in order to encourage young girls and women to pursue their dreams in STEM fields. It’s also important to recognize that it’s about the person and not the gender. The more we acknowledge scientists for their contributions without the mention of their gender the further we will go towards true equality.
Did you have a role model growing up?
LG: I have so many! My mom is my biggest inspiration. She is not a scientist. She is smart and very driven. She never backs away from a challenge and she rose very high in her career in a tough male-dominated industry. I also have many friends in the industry who inspire me. Two great friends from graduate school, Dr. Alicyn Rhoades and Dr. Stacey York, continue to inspire me. They are very bright scientists and strong women who work hard every day to make the world better for their students and women in science.
Why did you study chemistry?
LG: Since I was a teenager I thought it was so cool that people made the things we use everyday. I was especially excited when I found out that things like shampoo and make-up were made by chemists. That excitement, combined with a great high school chemistry teacher, is why I studied chemistry.