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chemistry

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STEMinist Profile: Bryn Lutes, Asst. Director for Teaching and Technology

Bryn Lutes

Bryn Lutes

Assistant Director for Teaching and Technology
The Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I have always loved to read, learn new things, and occasionally conduct science experiments at home. When I was in middle school, my parents gave me a microscope kit for Christmas, and the main thing I remember about it is that I refused to follow any of the provided instructions because I wanted to make up my own experiments. I had a decent interest in biology, but LOVED chemistry when I finally took it in high school.

I’ve also always been fascinated with women fighting to break into traditionally male occupations and activities–especially when it involved disguising themselves as men. If I had enjoyed analyzing and not just consuming literature as much as I loved science, my career choices could have been very different.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I can’t say that I’ve worked on anything cutting-edge. My dissertation research fell in the realm of “let’s poke it and see what happens” basic research. I can say that I felt the coolest when working on my undergraduate research project. I was given a project that had already failed for several Master’s students, and I was able to get some interesting results out of it.

Role models/heroes:
I have “met” so many amazing women via twitter that they definitely warrant a mention here. I also have to include Sophia Hayes, from my dissertation committee, who is currently the only female tenured faculty member in that chemistry department.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love learning new things, and I love that my background in chemistry helps me easily explore new topics in more depth than I could otherwise. One of the things I love about my current job is that I have projects that require learning new things all the time. My next project to tackle is in the computer programming/web design realm, and I am really excited to get started.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Keep on keepin’ on, girlfriend. Do what you love, and don’t ever feel like you have to be someone you are not in order “fit in.”

Favorite website or app:
My favorite app is definitely Evernote (though it also exists as a website), and at the moment my favorite website is Lifehacker.

Twitter: @technobryn