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Stories from the Field

Women in Chemistry: Stories from the Field

Stories from the Field preserves and celebrates the contributions of women in science. From students striving for degrees to scientists looking back on their careers, this audio library captures triumphs, challenges, and insights in short, conversational interviews.

We at CHF thank all our Stories from the Field participants for sharing their experiences with us—and with generations of scientists to come.


“Act, respond, and let it go, or else your own mind will bring you down.”

In the face of harassment, Isabel Escobar learned the hard-earned lesson of standing up for herself. From men assuming she had a temper and could “blow at any minute” to being called “little lady,” she talks about the challenges of being a Latina woman in a male-dominated field.

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“As a woman, you have to be really strategic.”

It’s not easy for a woman in science to advance, says Kristie Grover, so don’t sit back and assume you’ll be rewarded. Instead, follow your passions and actively seek what you want.

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“Be fearless; move forward. That’s how it works.”

Early in her career Dimitra Georganopoulou thought the ratio of men to women in science was pretty level. But then she began to rise up the ladder.

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“Be flexible. You never know where life’s going to take you.”

Lisa Houston, director of applications engineering at PAC, LP, started her career when she least expected to. Here she shares her journey to remind young chemists that taking the road less traveled can often lead to the most rewarding places.

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“Be open to all possibilities.”

You may have just received a degree, says Chris Meda, but you’re still a blank page. Get started in your career by applying yourself, talking to people, and being bold.

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“Believe in yourself and believe in what you’re doing.” 

Lucy Eubanks, retired professor at Clemson University, discusses the importance of flexibility, and recalls how telling men she was a chemist elicited a very different response than telling men about her other passion: the violin.

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“Competing with men was just part of the game.”

When Kathryn Lysko began her undergraduate work, there were 15,000 men and 100 women in her entire college. She talks about the camaraderie that emerged among the women students, her proudest career moments, and the tough choices facing women who want both a family and an academic career.  

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“Do what you think you do best.”

Is it better to have some knowledge about a wide range of topics or deep knowledge about just a few? Joana Rosario talks about specialization and the changing roles of women in science.

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“Don’t be afraid to aspire to big things.”

Lesley Yellowlees, the first woman president of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom, shares her secret to maintaining ambitious, healthy goals, as well as some of her proudest moments.

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“Don’t be afraid to seek feedback.”

For those just starting out in a field, Katherine Neville recommends asking a simple question of your supervisors after completing a project: “How did I do?”

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Catalyst Series: Women in Chemistry

Women in Chemistry

Follow the adventures of eight leading women in chemistry and celebrate their life-changing, chance-taking, thrill-seeking love of science.