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Women Leaders in STEM Spotlight: Hillary Chase

As a female scientist, advocating for yourself and voicing your ideas will help drive career growth

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Lauren Everett

Lauren Everett is the managing editor for Lab Manager. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from SUNY New Paltz and has more than a decade of experience in news...

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Michileen Bryan

Michileen Bryan is the online events producer for Lab Manager. She can be reached at mbryan@labmanager.com

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In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, we will be sharing the careers and experiences of several women leaders in science. These accomplished women will also give presentations and host Q&A sessions during Lab Manager’s Women Leaders in Science Digital Summit, taking place March 14-15. This free digital event will provide career development guidance to women working in scientific organizations and offer advice on how to address challenges, reach goals, and command a room.

Hillary Chase is a diagnostic laboratory supervisor at the Medical University of South Carolina. Chase has worked with captive wildlife for more than 10 years, and throughout that time she has looked up to other women for guidance. She has also mentored others by leading challenge courses in an outdoor environment to various age groups. She is currently a diagnostic laboratory supervisor and has used the skills she learned along the way to create a new training program for her entire department. 

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Hillary Chase

Chase will present on the topic of “Boosting Morale When Change is Imminent” at the Women Leaders in Science Summit. 

Q: What inspired you to pursue a scientific career?

A: I enjoy working in a scientific setting because there are so many options and possibilities for growth. There are many different positions available within the scientific community. You could conduct or support a research project, teach in a classroom setting, manage finances, work with animals, and be a mentor. The possibilities are endless.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned during your professional journey so far?

A: Do not be afraid to stand out. If you have an idea that could positively impact others, do not be afraid to advocate for it. Your empowerment may inspire others to do the same.  

Q: What’s one key point of advice you have for fellow women in STEM?

A: Keep going no matter what troubles come your way. It is difficult when you are going toward an uphill battle but sticking it out may be one of the best decisions you have ever made.

Q: Can you explain what you will be presenting on during the Women Leaders in Science Summit?

A: I am presenting on how I got to the position I am in today, and what I have been able to do advocate for others. Change can be difficult for everyone, and it is a necessary ingredient to make improvements. Get inspired to make an impact at your facility and become the change you want to see.

Q: What challenges do you still see for women in STEM? How can women best advocate for themselves? How can peer allies best support women?

A: In the past, women were taught to be reserved; seen and not heard. While women have a better standing in the work force now than in the past, there are still triumphs that can be made. Occasionally I have an innate behavior to silence myself because I do not want to be viewed as domineering. This innate behavior is something that many women face. I encourage other women to stand up for their ideas. You can also support your peers by advocating with them. Being direct and persistent is not a bad trait for a professional woman to have.

Q: Do you feel you have equal opportunities to your lab counterparts?

A: I work at an institution that celebrates diversity. In my current position I feel that I have gotten many equal opportunities. However, there are times where I have felt pressure to conform to stereotypes. I have learned to advocate for myself. It is still an ongoing process, but I am making my way forward.

Q: Are there any valuable resources you recommend for women just entering the workforce in a STEM-related field?

A: It is valuable to work well in a group setting. Leaders come in many forms, and there are plenty of resources to help you become the best leader you can be. I really enjoy The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle for learning how to build and maintain a strong team.

To learn more about Hillary Chase or the Women Leaders in Science Summit, visit: summit.labmanager.com/womenleaders