Member Spotlight

Dr. Karen Yee
Research and Program Manager
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AWIS member since 1994
 

“As a first-generation college and graduate student, I didn’t have any family guidance so I joined the AWIS Seattle and Boston Chapters.”

Headshot of Dr. Karen Yee

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned the hard way?

Never try to solve a conflict or misunderstanding through email.

Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.

Becoming program manager for a collaboration between MIT and Johnson & Johnson.

How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

AWIS has allowed me to grow as a leader. As a first-generation college and graduate student, I didn’t have any family guidance so I joined the AWIS Seattle and Boston Chapters. I gained leadership and executive skills by co-chairing committees and becoming an officer on the Board.

What is your favorite word?

Perseverance

How do you define it?

To keep moving forward despite obstacles.

How has this word influenced or inspired your career, or is it a word chosen retrospectively?

I have had several career “setbacks,” when things didn’t go as planned. But by persevering, I was able to find another path to take on my career journey.

How does AWIS impact your career journey?

Holding leadership positions in AWIS has allowed me to transfer these executive and communication skills to my career. Finding friends and mentors through my involvement with AWIS has allowed me to get through the difficult times in my career.

What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?

Perfection is not always required. Sometimes ‘good enough’ is totally fine.

Dr. Karen Yee received her BA degree with honors in biological science from Dartmouth College and her PhD in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Washington. She is currently a research and program manager at MIT, member of the AWIS Educational Awards Committee, and the chair of the AWIS Chapter Advisory Committee. Dr. Yee has been an active member of two AWIS chapters, Seattle and Boston (MASS AWIS) and held several officer and committee co-chair positions in both chapters.

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