Haley Amemiya, PhD Candidate
The Boyle Lab, University of Michigan
AWIS Professional Member since 2017
“We have been able to accomplish a great amount of work for our community by knowing that our voices matter.”
1. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable?
The most important leadership lesson I’ve learned was using my voice. As an incredibly shy child, I found myself always thinking of ideas from what I had been listening to around me, but too timid to voice them. In my first year at graduate school, I shattered this trend by speaking to a crowd of 15,000 people during the March for Science – Ann Arbor. After this experience, I didn’t feel as much fear in sharing ideas and asking for help. I am fortunate to attend a school with a wealth of support at my disposal, all I had to do was come out of my shell. This lesson has proven to be invaluable for our AWIS group at the University of Michigan. In 2017, we established a mentorship program for graduate and postdoctoral women in science that now includes over 110 members. In 2018, we pioneered a new outreach program at a local middle school where 30 graduate students helped mentor students in designing a science fair project. This culminated into an event we created called the “Young Scientists’ Expo”, where over 130 young scientists presented their work. We have been able to accomplish a great amount of work for our community by knowing that our voices matter.
2. What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why?
It is my goal to become a principal investigator dedicated to research excellence and advocating for inclusion and equality in STEM. Science provides a platform for me to be curious. I feel spoiled each day for being able to address questions that swam through my mind as a child such as, “How can something as small as DNA make me, me?”. It is my hope to inspire others to feel the freedom to ask these types of questions and empower them unpack the answers themselves.
3. How has AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?
AWIS has greatly expanded my network of support and bolstered my confidence. As a minority in STEM, it can feel like there is not enough room for everyone at the table. My mind can swell with imposter syndrome. Through AWIS, I have been exposed to a variety of scientists’ narratives and collaborated with different groups that have demonstrated first-hand the value of diversifying STEM.
Haley Amemiya is a doctoral candidate in cellular and molecular biology and a Master of Science in Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Amemiya says that it is our responsibility as scientists to bridge the gap between science and our community to inform the public about scientific discoveries.