STEMinist Profile: Joanne Kamens, Executive Director, Addgene

Joanne Kamens

Executive Director

Addgene, a non-profit biotech



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
How could I not? I was a scientist early on and never lost the bug. Maybe the interest in biology started with my crazy but excellent biology teacher in 10th grade and learning about Mendel’s peas in genetics, but I was a serious math geek long before that.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I have had a long and varied career at work and exciting volunteer experiences as well. I guess my coolest work project is my current one–Addgene. Addgene is a non-profit repository for research reagents called plasmids. We help life scientists all over the world share their plasmids for their experiments. Addgene started small but now has over 20,000 plasmids in our library and sends out over 350 a day all over the world! My coolest non-work project was starting the Massachusetts chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and watching it grow to over 300 active members.

Role models and heroes:
There are so many cool women and scientists out there–I have a new hero every day. Today my hero is one of the admins in our office. She went to a conference and watched Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post speak and then emailed her. Ms. Huffington invited her to write a blog for The Post. I have a soft spot for Ada Lovelace…one of the founders in computing and I am related to Millie Koss, another leading woman in tech who recently passed away. I could go on and on.

Why do you loving working in STEM?
Who wouldn’t? I don’t do science, I am a scientist. Of course I love it.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Be bold. Find mentors – lots of mentors. Ask for help and pay it forward when you get it.

Favorite website or app:
Has to be my site www.addgene.org but I also admire Constant Contact and must admit a soft spot for the ever amazing Google.

Twitter: @jkamens

Site: www.linkedin.com/in/joannekamens

STEMinist Profile: Deborah Resnick, Technical Services Manager/Systems Administrator

Deborah Resnick

Technical Services Manager/Systems Administrator

Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I have always been fascinated by science and technology – I was the only girl in my high school aeronautics class. It was practicality that led me to my STEM career, though. My husband and I sat down one day and discussed what we liked to do and who would make more doing it. I won. I discovered several years previously that I had an aptitude for computers. In 15 years I’ve gone from knowing virtually nothing about computers to being a systems administrator and technology manager at a Big 10 university. It’s been amazing!

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project I’ve worked on has been moving the support for game day stats in house. It seemed like a simple and straightforward project, but as in all things tech, it was so much more under the surface. It’s been amazing to see how the hardware, software, people, networks, and the Internet all come together to put that little line of sports statistics across the bottom of my television screen during a Boilermaker sporting event. I still get a little thrill each time the stats start working at each game or meet!

Role models and heroes:
My primary role model is Amelia Earhart. Such an amazing and independent woman! I would also have to say my mother, but I didn’t realize that until recently. She was a working mom when there were very few to be found. She was a nurse, who lived to care for people. In order to become a nurse (it was 1954) she locked herself in her bedroom until her parents agreed to let her go to nursing school! The independence and ambition of both of these women are what has kept me going throughout my life.

Why do you loving working in STEM?
Possibilities. It’s not so much about what is, but what could be. There’s a huge world out there that is just beyond what we can see. I love being able to show people what’s possible, and it’s always a thrill when those people start seeing the possibilities themselves. I think that one of the things I love most in my current position is the way someone’s eyes light up when I’m telling her about something and that child-like wonder shines through.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do something. You can do anything you can imagine. The only limits on you are those you place on yourself. Some things just take a lot more work – so do the work!

Favorite website or app:
My current favorite is really more of a concept. I love the cloud. Any cloud will do. I use several cloud services and I feel so much more free. No need to carry around my laptop – I can use a tablet or my phone and see any document I’ve got stored in the cloud. I currently use Google Drive most frequently, but I also like Dropbox.

My favorite app right now is IQTELL. It’s a great organizing tool. The interface is a bit busy, but it’s just in beta and testers can suggest modifications.

Twitter: @DebResnick

Site: www.deborahresnick.com