Week 3: Dr. Janice Lee
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Janice Lee – an astronomer at the STScI (Space
Telescope Science Institute) – about her ventures into astronomy and why she chose a career in science. Most of our discussion was based on her journey into astronomy.
The most important aspect of the discussion was Janice's emphasis on exploring different career paths before settling down with one. I found this quite similar to my undergraduate exploration of courses because I studied a very wide selection of courses and participated in a plethora of
different activities until I finally realized that my ultimate fascination was with astrophysics and computer science.
Another aspect of our discussion that I found incredibly fruitful was Janice’s description of her
foray into astrophysics. As she had been a Math major in college, she had not taken many advanced level Physics courses. By the time she realized that she was more interested in being a scientist than a policy maker, she was about to begin her senior year. However, she found out that certain liberal arts schools in the country offer master’s programs in astronomy that allow students to take higher level physics courses while preparing them for PhD programs. I found this illumination to be very heart-warming because I realize that preparation for higher-level scientific research does not need to end at the undergraduate level and that interests can be explored even further in a master’s program.
About the Blogger
Rabeea Ahmed is an Astrophysics and Computer Science major at Harvard (class of 2014). She was born and raised in Pakistan, where she spent her formative years before moving to the United States for college. She's been fascinated by science since elementary school. She also enjoys roller-blading, having conversations about government and foreign cultures with my friends and absolutely loves cooking!