Christina Smolke

"dream big, learn to listen to your head and your heart"

INTERVIEW DATE August 8, 2007
HER JOB Professor, California Institute of Technology
Engineering Careers
Chemical |

I wanted to design and construct useful things

Christina Smolke, California Institute of Technology

ADDEDWednesday, August 8, 2007

  • Q
    Describe what you do in your current work situation?
    A
    run a biological engineering laboratory with approximately 15 full-time researchers; teach undergraduate and graduate students
  • Q
    Why did you choose engineering?
    A
    I wanted to design and construct useful things
  • Q
    Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    A
    University of Southern California, BS Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology University of California, Berkeley, PhD Chemical Engineering
  • Q
    What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    A
    applied biology research biomolecular design cloning, recombinant DNA programming cellular behavior
  • Q
    What do you like best about being an engineer?
    A
    changing our world
  • Q
    Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    A
    training and mentoring young engineers and scientists
  • Q
    What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    A
    believing in myself, my dreams
  • Q
    Please tell us a little about your family.
    A
    supportive family - mom and dad encourage me to follow my dreams; older sister and brother-in-law; younger brother; new and beautiful niece
  • Q
    What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    A
    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
  • Q
    What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    A
    parents
  • Q
    What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    A
    dream big, learn to listen to your head and your heart
  • Q
    Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    A
    dream big, learn to listen to your head and your heart
  • Q
    Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    A
    theater, musicals, knitting, hiking