We are very proud to recognize Kim Thomas as our outstanding consultant of this summer '18 quarter. Kim started her research career during her undergraduate years in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her research focused on old-school methods of sequencing the HCV genome. She completed her PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her dissertation work focused on cellular and molecular immunology. She further continued her research in immunology as a post-doctoral fellow and is currently working as a staff scientist in WashU.
What motivated you to join BALSA?
I had come to a cross roads during my training and career development and was trying to figure out what skill sets I had to offer outside of academia. Dr. Jessica Hutchins had mentioned BALSA to me as an opportunity to develop some transferable skills, such as team work, project organization and management.
What have you learned so far by working on BALSA projects?
I would categorize what I have learned in two ways: personal development and career opportunities. Working with project managers and advisors has led to some very good feedback and helped me in identifying areas where I can individually work to be a better team player. Additionally, the projects I have participated in have been very eye-opening to an field of Technology Management that I had limited information on previously. There are so many aspects of taking an invention from a theory to a profitable product and working on certain projects really highlighted how many different career types/styles it takes to help this process along.
What did you hope to accomplish by working with BALSA? Were these goals fulfilled?
My goal was, as I mentioned, to obtain transferable skills which would help with a career transition out of academia. At this point, I am happy to still be in academia, but have definitely obtained skills regarding project organization and team work, which are very useful in my new position.
What do you envision your career to be in 3-5 years and how do you think your BALSA experience will help you with your goal?
In 3-5 years, I see myself as a faculty member at an academic research center with my own independent lab and maintaining collaborations with my current mentor. I think the continual education I receive through BALSA projects will be very helpful in my future, as running a lab is essentially managing multiple projects simultaneously, as well as being able to understand and provide for your team. Moreover, the number of networking opportunities with BALSA participation is astounding, and I feel this will be very useful along my career path.