#STEMSpotlight : Meet Christine 

Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to announce that I am launching a new #STEMSpotlight feature where I highlight the lives of incredibly inspiring women rocking the field. I’m kicking off my #STEMSpotlight series with Christine T. Schwall who is one of the most stylish biochemists out there! 

Christine- A self-proclaimed “science geek meets fashionista foodie” who is best known for her sweet and bubbly personality and trendy style. 

How did you know you wanted to become a scientist?

I have always been interested in science- I loved the biology and chemistry classes that I took in high school and I also completed a three year research program in high school that introduced me to the basics of designing and completing experiments as well as writing up research papers and presenting results. This drove me to become a biology major (with chemistry and sociology minors) in college and my passion for science and completing research only grew from there. I love to understand how diseases develop and the processes behind how anything works, especially the human body. I think I was pushed even more towards science because my brother was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes when he was in third grade and I was in sixth grade; I wanted to find a cure and help people living with this disease. The desire to help people was strengthened when my father was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and passed away during my sophomore year in college. I love that scientists are pushing research forward, finding cures, and making differences. They may work behind the scenes, but they are making amazing discoveries and I wanted to be a part of that.


What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your PhD?

I think that the biggest challenge was staying motivated throughout the entire process. For most science-based PhD programs, it takes 5-7 years to obtain your PhD (I received mine in 5 years). After being in an undergraduate program for 4 years, it is hard to not become burnt out as the process continues (at minimum that is 9 years of continuously being in school). It is also challenging to stay motivated when you are planning and executing experiments and they either do not work or the results are not what you are anticipating. It can become very frustrating very quickly, which definitely makes a lot of people re-think continuing in their program. However, I was very fortunate to have some greatly supportive colleagues and we would have trouble-shooting meetings and social outings to keep morale up and our research moving in the right direction.
How do you prepare for a lab meeting, presentation, or research symposium?

I think that the answer to this question definitely varies from person-to-person, but I like to prepare the presentation or poster as far in advance as possible. That way, I can read through it and practice it in front of other people (or in my own head) and you become more comfortable with the material and what you want to say. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received for preparing an oral presentation is to write out explicitly what you want to say (word-for-word) for the first couple of slides. This is because you tend to be nervous at the start of the presentation, before you “get into your groove,” and it helps to have these first few slides memorized cold so that you can go into the presentation feeling confident and knock it out of the park! For a poster-based presentation, I like to print out my poster on one sheet of paper and look over it often, trying to anticipate the types of questions that people will ask me. Also, this is not really preparation advice, but during a poster session I love to ask people their backgrounds before I begin the “presentation” so that I can try to tailor my talk to what they will find most interesting and so that I do not focus on background information with which they are probably already familiar.

What’s your favorite fashion accessory?

Ah, this is such a hard question- how can I just pick one? Do handbags count? I definitely have a bag obsession and am always searching for my next go-to bag. My all-time favorite bag is a slouchy Michael Kors handbag in a gold snakeskin print; it is the perfect accessory to glam-up any look and it is my go-to weekend bag (and I have had it for about 4 years!). That said, right now I am loving the backpack trend and just bought a super adorable backpack made with gray felt and black shearling and faux- leather accents from the Adam Lippes for Target collection that just came out!

If you could go back in time to give your 16-year-old self advice, what would it be?

I would definitely tell her to speak up, be herself, and don’t be afraid of what other people think. I was painfully shy as a child and only started to find myself and grow into my personality later in high school. At that point, everyone with who I had grown up knew me as the “shy, smart” girl and it was hard to break out of that shell and become the more outgoing person that I am today. I wish I had allowed myself to grow and share my true self with others at a younger age, but I am glad I had supportive friends in college who completely allowed me to grow into the person I am today! I want all girls, no matter their age, to dream big and follow those dreams; make them a reality. At the same time, don’t let other people peg you as something you are not and always allow yourself to take the path that may seem “off course.” Be open to opportunity and see where life takes you! As long as you make sure to always be true to yourself, everything else will fall into place.
 

Photo courtesy of Christine

 
Xoxo

Thanks for reading! 

#MotivationMonday

Second edition of the #MotivationMonday series! Stayed tuned for a special post later this week! So excited to write about it! 

LISTENING TO 

“Keep an Eye on Me”, Frida Sundemo

 

photo by spotify

 
After watching  the heart-wrenching second episode of Grey’s Anatomy season 12, I had to find the entire song! The lyrics are so deeply felt and I’m a huge fan of Frida Sundemo’s vocals! I’ve been listening to this song NON-STOP. Besides from singing, Frida is a med student! How cool is that?!? A woman in STEM and music! Frida is definitely ruling the world in both fields. 

PRACTICING 

I did not practice yoga this week, but I have been running at track practice and practicing my implicit derivatives for AP Calculus BC. AP Calculus BC is definitely the most challenging AP course I have taken so far but the biggest piece of advice I have to all of my fellow and future course takers is to practice! Practice makes perfect, especially in calculus! Try to attend after school tutoring sessions if they are offered at your school! 

EATING
Tuna avacado, octopus/salmon speciality roll, and eel cucumber roll. SO DELICIOUS!    

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE

  

  Xoxo 

Autumn 

#MotivationMonday

This is the first week of my #MotivationMonday series! Every Monday I’ll share what I have been listening to, practicing, and generally recap you on my week. So here’s my first edition of #MotivationMonday 

LISTENING TO

The First Lady’s Day of the Girl Playlist on Spotify

In honor of the Day of the Girl, Michelle Obama released a girls empowering playlist to raise awareness for girls education. The playlist features a mix of female legends ranging from Beyoncé to Diana Ross. In response to her new movement in partnership with UNICEF’s global goals, I shared my #62MillionGirls post featuring my friend, Sydney Williams. Sydney and I both conducted cancer research over the summer. We filmed a cancer research video that will be released in December, so stay tuned! 

 

  
PRACTICING 

Besides from practicing my AP Calculus BC derivatives and chain rule, I practiced Y7 yoga with beauty, health, and fitness guru, Hannah Bronfman to celebrate the re- launch of the new hbfit.com ! It was my first time trying Y7 and I loved the relaxed studio atmosphere. I highly recommend it!  

 

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE:

    
-Anonymous 

Xoxo, thanks for reading! Stay tuned for next week’s motivation Monday! 

 

Modern Boffin

I am so excited to announce my collaboration  with Modern Boffin! Modern Boffin is a new clothing line inspired by all things STEM! Mari, Modern Boffin Founder, is currently a doctoral candidate where her research interests include the retention and persistence of women and minorities in STEM education. Mari is increasing awareness for the need for underrepresented groups in STEM! Besides from creating super fashionable designs, Mari is donating a portion of her proceeds to STEM educational programs! She is a role model for girls everywhere pursuing careers in STEM. Check out modernboffin.com to shop the looks and follow @modernboffin on social media! I had so much fun shooting pieces from the collection.  

Astronaut Selfie Tee

This is my favorite shirt from  MB! I love how you can see the astronaut’s perspective.  
Love Tee

I styled this tee with a denim jacket. I love how Mari shaped the L with a space shuttle. 

 
Boffin Definition Tee 

This tee is the ultimate MB tee! A Boffin is a scientist, engineer, or other person engaged in technical or scientific work. 

    

  Xoxo

Thank you so much Mari and Modern Boffin for letting me collaborate! 

NYFW: Rebecca Minkoff and Herve Leger 

Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed my live coverage of my first day at the SS16 on my social media outlets! I had so much fun covering Rebecca Minkoff and Herve Leger. Thank you so much for the invites! My day began at Arrojo Salon on Varrick Street, a Vive partner Salon. If you haven’t already heard of Vive, Vive is an on-demand beauty concierge service that is currently taking the beauty industry by storm. With an extremely active social media presence and an unbeatable deal ( $99/month for unlimited blowouts? YES PLEASE!), Vive is definitely a NYFW staple. I am so grateful for Vive’s generous offer to style me for the rest of fashion week! Check out their online publication, JOIE DE VIVE. Now, on to the shows:REBECCA MINKOFF
I always love Rebecca’s 60s/70s bohemian vibe! Her SS16 most definitely achieves her modern take on fringe, lace, and leather. Besides from rocking the runway with fashion, Rebecca highlighted a technological influence. With two drones hovering over the catwalk and stage where the incredible, Borns, performed, Rebecca marked a STEM precedent for other fashion designers to follow. Rebecca’s inclusion of technology in a fashion-forward and exciting way encourages many girls to explore the world of STEM careers. Thank you so much for having me! Below are some of my favorite looks:

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 Photos by Buro247.my
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  photo by Autumn 
HERVE LEGER
I had an amazing time attending the Herve Leger 30th Anniversary Fashion Show! Taking the iconic bodycon dress to new heights, Herve Leger presented unique cutouts, bold prints, and elaborate embellishments. I enjoyed seeing new shapes including flare styles of the must have bandage dress. Below are some of my favorite looks and a quick video clip:
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buro247.my

 

 
Video by Autumn 

Xoxo
Thanks for reading! My look will be posted soon! 
Autumn 
   

#FashionWeekBootcamp WITH REBECCA MINKOFF

I’ve seen Exhale’s core fusion barre classes sweep my social media feeds and I have been excited to check it out! I was invited to a class hosted by Rebecca Minkoff as part of her fashion week bootcamp series to launch her new athleisure line, which is super cool and can be bought by clicking here! With elements of yoga, pilates, and barre, Exhale’s core fusion barre class is unlike anything I have ever done before. I have been practicing Bikram Yoga for one year now and it has given me the mindset that I can take on any form of exercise that comes my way. Now, while that is true for many other classes, this class had me burning everywhere ( in a good way, of course!). I loved the instructor’s energy and her help to ensure that everyone was practicing in the right form. I had so much fun doing this workout and the playlist complimented the exercises so well! Thank you so much Rebecca Minkoff for having me! I loved the gift bag and I’m so excited to sport my athleisure clothes and Essie x RM nail colors!

xoxoxo

Photo- RM Snapchat

Photo- RM Snapchat

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THE BEST LOOKS FROM THIS YEAR’S #VMAs

OMG. Let’s just say that this year’s VMAs was one of the most insane award shows in history. Besides Kanye’s presidential campaign announcement and Nikki & Taylor’s show stopping performance, the fashion looks of the night were to die for. Here are my top five fashion and beauty looks. I will be showing you how to create the beauty looks with L’Oreal products! Enjoy! xoxoxo

TOP 5 FASHION/BEAUTY LOOKS… oh, and these may or may not be all members of the #badbloodsquad

5. MARISKA HARGITAY

Mariska is my favorite actress and I loved her strong look on last night’s red carpet. Mariska wowed everyone in a flattering long-sleeve jumpsuit by Stella McCartney and shoes by Gianvito Rossi. Achieve this look with the L’Oreal Colour Riche Le Gloss in Baby Blossom and the Infallible Silkissime Eyeliner.

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Photo: walmart.com

Photo: target.com

Photo: target.com

Photo by Hollywood Reporter

Photo by Hollywood Reporter

4. Lily Aldridge

I loved Lily’s plunging neckline and cutouts! Her beautiful gown is by Alexander Vauthier. Achieve her makeup look using the L’Oreal voluminous butterfly mascara and the Colour Riche Extraordinaire lipstick in nude ballet.

Photo: walmart.com

Photo: walmart.com

Photo by: ew.com

Photo by: ew.com

Photo: lorealparisusa.com

 Photo: lorealparisusa.com

3.  Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift rocked the VMAs with her style and wins! I loved her sequin crop top and pants by Ashish. Try the Infallible Blackbuster eyeliner and brow stylist sculptor to replicate this bold eye look.

lorealparisusa.com

lorealparisusa.com

Photo by ew.com

  Photo by ew.com

lorealparisusa.com

lorealparisusa.com

2.  Karlie Kloss

Karlie’s flowy, orange Louis Vuitton gown is to die for! I love how she paired the dress with flat gold sandals! Get her glowing skin with the True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator and Visible Lift Color Lift Blush in the peach gold lift shade!

lorealparisusa.com

lorealparisusa.com

lorealparisusa.com

 lorealparisusa.com

hollywoodreporter.com

hollywoodreporter.com

  1. Gigi Hadid

Gigi’s golden yellow Emilia Wickstead romper-and-dress combo wowed everyone on the red carpet. I loved her bronzed beauty look which you can recreate with the True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator and Colour Riche La Palette Nude Eye Shadows.

hollywoodreporter.com

hollywoodreporter.com  

lorealparisusa.com

lorealparisusa.com

lorealparisusa.com

lorealparisusa.com 

THANKS FOR READING!

L’Oreal Workshop Day 5

I can’t believe today is the final day of the workshop. This week has been packed with super exciting projects and I would love to stay to learn more techniques. Unfortunately, Jamese and I have reached the end of our Madison stay for the summer, but we look forward to coming back to the Weibel Lab soon! Enjoy the final workshop recap!

xoxo

Autumn 

DAY 5

Day 5 began with a trip to Promega, a world-renowned biotechnology company; right here in Madison! Promega applies biochemistry and microbiology to basic research, drug discovery, forensics, and diagnostics. Promega’s DNA forensic kits are used in the same way they are represented on crime shows on tv! I am a Law and Order SVU Diehard fan, so that was super interesting for me! Our tour guide, Laura F. began the session with a clear powerpoint explaining the mission and future plans for the company. The facility is centered around nature and natural sunlight is often the center of many of the workspaces. I loved the relaxed vibe of the research center.  We ate a tasty lunch at the Promega cafe before heading back to the UW Biochem Lab!

Photo by promega.com

 
Back at the lab, we began the diaper diagnostic intro. Katie gave us a background lession and illustrated her early, non-invasive infection diagnostic technique on her powerpoint. This technique works by identifying metabolites, chemicals in the urine that can tell us if a baby is at risk for an infection. Jamese and I got to test the detection method using actual, de-identified samples! After we learned the fundamentals for the technique, it was time to go LIVE ON L’OREAL’S PERISCOPE! Special thanks to everyone who tuned in! We had such a fun time explaining the process to over 200 live viewers. Here are some screenshots of the post:

  
    
    

After we wrapped up this session, we said goodbye to all of the biochemists in the Weibel lab and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the dinner cruise. The food was amazing and it was a perfect end to an unforgettable week. 

Outfit Details:

Dress- Divided by H&M

Bag- Rebecca Minkoff Black Mini Bucket Bag

   
  

L’OREAL DAY 3/4 RECAP!

Days 3 and 4 were super packed in the Weibel Lab! Katie organzied many interesting sessions, so read below for an inside look!

DAY 3

Wednesday began with a literature review meeting. In the Weibel lab, scientists are selected to present a research paper that has either provided foundation for research that is currently being conducted in the lab or a groundbreaking paper. You can read this week’s paper here! After our meeting, we began an introduction to microfluidics with Matt. Microfluidics is the control of small volumes of fluid to be applied in a practical manner. DNA chips, inkjet printheads, and other micro-chip technological devices are developed using microfluidics! Imaged below is a photo of a device we tested out with food coloring!

After we wrapped up microfluidics with Matt and had lunch, we met up with Linda. During our time with Linda, we selected individual bacterial colonies to culture overnight! We also prepared samples using our own saliva to determine the efficacy of standard mouthwash! 

Controlled Volume of Mouthwash

Samples before incubation

After a long day of science we stopped at Babcock Dairy, a famous dairy shop in Wisconsin! Jamese, Linda, Zoe, Katie, and I shared a brownie boat; a Babcock Dairy Special! 
  
DAY 4

Day 4 began with a group lab meeting! Katie H. presented her research regarding the destruction of the bacterial membrane. After the group discussion, we met with Bradley, who helped us with biofilms earlier in the week. We used confocal microscopy to visualize E. Coli and pseudomonas.  We also quantified the cell flourescence!

   
 After our flourescent quantification,we toured the NMR-FAM. The National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison uses biomolecular NMR spectroscopy to advance research in structural biology, small molecules, high-throughput methods, and protein production. Jamese and I are identifying different compounds using magnetic resonance in the image below.

  
After the tour and info session, we followed up with Linda and transferred our colony cultures to Petri dishes for further testing.  Transfer pictured below: 

   


Day 4 culminated with a trip to the Wisconsin Union Terrace where we enjoyed food, music, and a beautiful view.  

 
Outfit Details:

Top- Abercrombie & Fitch

Skirt- Hollister 

Thank you L’Oreal for supporting girls in STEM! I am having an incredible time here in Madison. STAY TUNED FOR DAY 5!!!

 

L’Oreal Science Workshop in Wisconsin! 

Hey everyone! I am currently studying new techniques in the Weibel Lab located in Madison, Wisconsin! After meeting Dr. Katie Brenner at the L’Oreal For Women in Science Ceremony enabled by Teen Vogue ( 1st blog post on scistrut!), I followed up with her via email to arrange a potential internship or research project in her lab at UW-Madison! Katie was recognized for her innovative work to detect neonatal infections early! A video of her work can be found here: L’Oreal For Women in Science Fellows. Katie’s research inspired me to explore biochemistry and encouraged me to major in biochemistry in the future. After months of email correspondence and extremely generous support from L’Oreal, we developed an outreach science workshop in Katie’s lab! So here is my Day 1/ Day 2 Recap:

DAY 1

Katie organized a meeting with Dr. Doug Weibel, the principal investigator of the Weibel Lab. Dr. Weibel was super friendly and shared his STEM background. Next, Jamese ( fellow teen scientist) and I were introduced to biofilms! A biofilm is any group of microorganisms where cells stick to each other on a surface! Biofilms are everywhere! This introduction and inoculation demo lead perfectly into our specimen collection, which was broadcasted on the L’Oreal USA Periscope! Our goal was to collect samples from different locations near water or actual water samples and visualize antibiotic resistance within these biofilms! Thank you to everyone who tuned into this special broadcast, we will be posting another livestream later this week!    

DAY 2

Day 2 consisted mainly of exciting chemical reactions. We synthesized aspirin and connected what I learned in AP Chemistry this year to reactions in the lab!  

Photo By UW Biochemistry 

After a delicious lunch, we headed over to a scientific glassblowing demonstration with Tracy. Tracy explained to us his role in the development of innovative research at UW-Madison. His ability to translate ideas into glass apparatuses for the lab is super cool!  

  After our day of science was complete, we enjoyed a theatre production of Pride and Prejudice!  

  
Photo: ( left to right) Autumn, Katie, Jamese 

 Outfit Details:

Dress- H&M

Mini Bucket Bag- Rebecca Minkoff

Shoes- Target ( not visible) 

THANK YOU SO MUCH L’OREAL FOR FUNDING  THIS AMAZING EXPERIENCE