We recognize science can seem difficult to young scientists, and we hope to raise awareness about people who make it fun and accessible to broader audiences through social media, #SciComm!
Meet Tori Quintana, a science communicator and PhD student studying Cancer biology. Through her Instagram account @tinybutmightyscientist Tori shares the challenges and accomplishments she experiences both in her professional and personal life, and shares the advice she's learned! We got the chance to ask Tori a few questions about her research, her hobbies and her experience as a women in STEM.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Where are you from and what is your career path?
Hi! My name is Tori and I am originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I went to undergrad at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and received my bachelor's in Cellular and Molecular Biology. I’m now at The University of Arizona studying Cancer biology in the College of Medicine and Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Once I graduate, I plan to be a teacher and show students of all ages how incredible science is! 👩🏻🔬 Outside of science, I’m an avid runner and love to hike and be outdoors! 🌲
Why did you decide to share your journey in research on social media?
When I initially I started doing research, I would share it on my stories on Instagram and Snapchat, showing bits of pieces of my work because I loved what I did. As I became more knowledgeable and started developing my own projects, I realized that Instagram was a great way to teach and share what I was learning.
That is when I decided to start my science Instagram page to share with my family the things I would be doing in grad school in a way they would understand.
"Slowly but surely, I started making friends in the science community and my page started getting more followers. It’s been a fantastic community and I absolutely love it!" 😍
Tell us a bit about your experience so far as a PhD student! What advice would you give aspiring scientists that are considering following a similar path?
Being a PhD student has been one of the best and hardest things I’ve ever done. Moving to a completely different state all by myself, starting a new life and going to graduate school was a difficult transition for me. I struggled for the first couple months trying to adjust to the new changes. Slowly I started making friends and started to love Tucson. My biggest advice to students and all young scientists is to persevere. No one has a linear journey and we all struggle...
"... but understanding that in order to get to where you want to be you have to believe in yourself, keep going and don't give up."
If you could tell everyone one thing about cancer research what would it be?
I would tell people to take preventative actions with their everyday life: wear sunscreen (everyday!!), get your vaccines, get tested regularly, get checked if something feels wrong, drink water, exercise, eat nutrient dense food, and most importantly, treasure your body. 😁
Have you faced any challenges as a woman in STEM, and how did you overcome them? Do you have any role models you look up to?
As a woman in STEM, I’m constantly faced with challenges and obstacles. I’ve had my voice silenced, my work dismissed and my presence ignored. I’ve learned that in order to overcome these challenges, I can be a voice of change for other woman and myself when we are put in these situations.
"I’m lucky enough to have had many incredible role models, from my mother, to my teachers, to my PI. They have shown me that you can do anything and everything you put your mind to and being a woman only makes you stronger." 💪
What would make the world a better place?
I truly think love would make the world a better place.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I absolutely love to travel! This past summer I backpacked across 4 countries in Europe before I went to graduate school. 🌏
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time (if I have any) I love to read, go hiking or snuggle with my cat.🐾
Thank you Tori for sharing your story and your research with our community! We love hearing about how different science communicators are using social media to share scientific knowledge and their journey with others.