Christina Smolke

Current Position: Professor at California Institute of Technology
Christina Smolke
Highlight dream big, learn to listen to your head and your heart
August 8, 2007Her job: Professor, California Institute of Technology
Describe what you do in your current work situation? run a biological engineering laboratory with approximately 15 full-time researchers; teach undergraduate and graduate students
Why did you choose engineering? I wanted to design and construct useful things
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have? University of Southern California, BS Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology University of California, Berkeley, PhD Chemical Engineering
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work? applied biology research biomolecular design cloning, recombinant DNA programming cellular behavior
What do you like best about being an engineer? changing our world
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of? training and mentoring young engineers and scientists
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career? believing in myself, my dreams
Please tell us a little about your family. supportive family - mom and dad encourage me to follow my dreams; older sister and brother-in-law; younger brother; new and beautiful niece
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals? 1-2 years: develop a framework for constructing molecules that will allow us to broadly process and act on information inside living systems 10+ years: change the way we engineer biological systems and interface with our environment; translate discoveries to practice
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices? parents
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering? dream big, learn to listen to your head and your heart
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book. theater, musicals, knitting, hiking