It is a known fact that women are dramatically underrepresented in the field of science; however, some women are making huge strides to institute change. I was fortunately able to conduct an interview with Lana Clay. Clay and her work have greatly inspired me, and I truly believe that every girl should view her hard-work and dedication to helping cancer patients as a model for the future. Here is the interview, please enjoy!
What caused you to come passionate about helping in the fight against cancer?
The biggest thing that caused me to join in the fight against cancer was my own survivorship story and fortitude to help change the world we live in. I hope that no one will have to experience what I went through.
What is the biggest issue cancer patients face today?
The lack of resources in a very short amount of time. Most people, when diagnosed, have never had a serious disease—let alone cancer. Therefore, the initial information comes so fast and there is no patient navigation. Figuring everything out yourself in a short amount of time is hard. With technology and the plethora of information it can be overwhelming and cause confusion, stress, anxiety, and ambiguity. We haven’t perfected the way patients have been diagnosed and the path to their survivorship journey.
Please explain your work, and what are you working to achieve?
I work at USC in the Kuhn Lab. I work on a project from Moonshot, known as CancerBase. CancerBase exists through Peter Kuhn and many others from USC, and Jan Liphardt from Stanford University. All of the researchers in the lab work on improving cancer patient outcomes. We take technology and put it in the hands of cancer patients and ask them what they want and need. We have them be a part of the creation process the entire time. Our goal is to again improve cancer patients’ outcomes.
Has being a woman in the science field impacted your career or opportunities in any way?
Being a woman is science is still hard. Hard means a couple of things: you need a work-life balance if you want to complete your desires—if you want a marriage, children, education, etc. There is still a lot of discrimination in STEM. I believe that all women should educate themselves and become as literate as they can and to keep pushing forward. There is a place for women and if we keep on rising together, the better. Being a woman allows me to provide a very unique perspective. It is fascinating to see where things are created from the male perspective and provide mine and see those come together; however, it is not always easy.
What is a message you would like to share with fellow women and girls?
Intelligence is sexy! I truly believe that you can be and do whatever you want to do. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You can do everything with high heels and lip gloss!