A Research Tech on Her Surprising Path to the Lab

Lauren RubensteinSeptember 19, 20142min
Becker says a killer rhubarb pie is to thank for starting her biology career at Wesleyan

Sandy Becker, a research technician in the lab of Professor of Biology Laura Grabel, writes in Science about her surprising path to becoming a developmental biologist. After earning an undergraduate degree in history, working as a public school teacher, and raising a child, Becker was looking to take her career in a new direction. Through her daughter, she became friends with a biology professor at Wesleyan, who was impressed with the rhubarb pies she often brought to their potluck dinners.

“He concluded, I guess, that I knew how to follow a recipe and probably had enough brains to follow one written in metric units, because he offered me a job as a technician in his lab,” Becker writes. Though she had no background in biology, she learned on the job how to conduct experiments. “It was indeed a lot like baking pies: If you carefully followed the recipe—the protocol—your experiment would likely work, although the data might not tell you what you were hoping to hear.”

Becker went on to take 17 biology classes at Wesleyan and earn three Wesleyan graduate degrees.

Read the entire article here.

Grabel is also the Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science in Society.