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 but I also admire Constant Contact and must admit a soft spot for the ever amazing Google.

Twitter: @jkamens


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