Women in STEM

WISE Committee Showcases STEM Careers

WISEThe Nelson Laboratories’ Women in STEM Education (WISE) committee recently participated in the San Juan County Sixth Annual Career Fair hosted by Junior Achievement of Utah. Tina May, Dani Silva, Jessi Beck, and Dayna Clarke are part of the WISE committee which is comprised of 17 women scientists and leaders at Nelson Laboratories who are committed to bringing the passion for STEM careers to youths of all ages.

Nelson Labs was one of over 30 vendors that visited Whitehorse and Monument Valley High Schools to teach children from grades 7-12 about career opportunities that are available for them after graduation.

“We love to participate in events like this and share our enthusiasm for science careers with students who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to learn about these options,” said Tina May, co-chair of the WISE committee and senior director of laboratory operations at Nelson Laboratories.

There was a lot of traffic and interest at the Nelson Laboratories’ booth. The hands-on activities demonstrated to the kids that science can be cool, and they were able to take part in some of the testing protocols that are used in the laboratory. For instance, teaching the kids about aseptic technique for putting on surgical gloves was a big hit. Once they put on the gloves and held their hands under a special light, they were able to see how effectively they followed the procedure for gloving up. This also taught them why the technique is important for sterile environments.

“This experience was amazing as we got the chance to get to know many bright, young people who were genuinely excited to learn about our company and to have fun,” said Dayna Clarke, radiation study director at Nelson Laboratories. “We were also awestruck by the natural beauty of the formations of the Bluff and Monument Valley landscapes.”

Inspiring the next generation of scientists is an important mission, and the WISE committee is comprised of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time and talents to spread the word about STEM education and careers.

Challenging the Status Quo of Sterile Environments

Terra Kremer, corporate relationship manager at Nelson Laboratories, was interviewed by Foreste Peterson for her series about conversations with inspirational Utah women in business. Peterson writes for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

What brought you to Utah?

My parents brought me here from California because they loved the seasons.

What’s been your career path? How did you get started in the life sciences industry?

I am someone who has a lot of ideas. I try to think big and innovate. That being said, I spent a lot of time figuring out what exactly I wanted to do. I went to the University of Utah and studied chemistry. While I was in school, I wasn’t able to pay my bills, so I started waiting tables, which introduced me to the wine industry.

After I graduated, I moved to California and worked at U.C. Davis to study oenology, where I got my first glimpse into chemistry in a work setting. However, I realized that working at a winery in reality wasn’t very glamorous and that line of work wasn’t for me.

I then returned to Utah to help my sick younger brother. In the meantime, I started my first job in the health sciences industry at the DNA/Peptide Synthesis lab. I was still not in love with this job so I kept exploring.  Eventually I found myself at Nelson Labs where I joined the Sales Team. Right away, I loved the culture and was passionate about my new position that integrated business and science.

Can you explain what exactly you do and how it has an impact on medicine and patient outcomes?

My job, in particular, is to design test plans for medical devices, pharma and tissues to assure sterility. At Nelson we make sure our clients’ processes are in control and repeatable. As an example, I strive to ensure that there is no bioburden – bugs – on doctors’ tools that could potentially make patients sick. In broader terms, my job is to save lives!

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