Dr. Triparna Sen
Postdoctoral Fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center
Junior Member since 2015
“With AWIS, I am doing something I believe in and I am passionate about—it gives me a sense of contentment and purpose, which trickles down to every other aspect of my life.”
What do you think is the most important attribute that enables a woman to successfully lead a community that supports
women in STEM?
Lead by example. I feel if you become who you want to follow, then that is the best way to lead. Your achievement in your career and community should prove that gender or racial biases are redundant. Always respect yourself and others will follow suit; respect others and the favor will be returned. Empower those around you: advocate for them and help them achieve their goals. Be accountable not only for yourself but also for your team. Last but not the least, have patience and perseverance. Things will often not go your way, and that is when you need to look at the larger picture and not give up.
What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why?
My career as a scientist working to find a cure for what Siddhartha Mukherjee calls “The Emperor of All Maladies,” cancer, has been an amazing journey. I am one of those very lucky individuals whose childhood dreams have come true. I remember in my 7th standard in school, when I was asked to write an essay about a role model, I wrote about Marie Curie and how she inspired me. Today, I am working in one of the premier cancer institutes in the world, MD Anderson Cancer Center, surrounded by amazing mentors and colleagues and, I hope, touching lives. I want to add value to the people around me and my community. I aspire to work even harder to try and find a sustained solution to this global problem. My efforts are not only directed at working in the laboratory and on my research, but are also directed in the community at helping to improve the quality of life of patients already suffering from this disease. I am what I am today because of my teachers and mentors; I can fully appreciate the role of a mentor in one’s life. Hence, I devote my time to teaching and empowering students of the next generation, so that they can continue the work that we have started both in the laboratory and in the community.
How has AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?
My leadership position at AWIS has helped me immensely both in my personal and professional life. With AWIS, I am doing something I believe in and I am passionate about—it gives me a sense of contentment and purpose, which trickles down to every other aspect of my life. Second, being a chapter president has made me more forward-thinking in my approach. I am ready to forgo rewards of the moment for greater rewards of the future, and I am willing to make temporary sacrifices for that. This has helped me immensely in my career and personal life, as now I can plan better and look at the larger picture. Third, AWIS has made me more active in the community. This has especially worked for me on multiple levels, as now I more freely communicate and engage with my family, friends, colleagues and other community members. In isolation, you often lose perspective, but with AWIS and my increased involvement with the people around me, I am more aware and thus empowered. Last and definitely not least, I have a great team in the form of my chapter officers. They all are amazing individuals with unique strengths. Interacting with them on a daily basis has been extremely enriching for me and has helped me develop as an individual.