Follow your passion alumna tells high school girls

Chujun Wang of Laura Secord Secondary School in St. Catharines helps senior lab demonstrator Sergio Paone make “extreme ice cream.”Plans may change. Career paths may veer. But the main thing is to follow your passion.That was the message Kirsty Salmon delivered to Grade 11 girls last week when she gave the keynote speech at Scientifically Yours.Kirsty SalmonSalmon is a microbial physiologist and molecular biologist who researches biofuels. But when she started at Brock as an undergraduate student, she had no idea what her career path would be.“You can’t know in Grade 11 what you want to do,” Salmon said after her talk. “I don’t think most people even know what they want to do when they enter university. But if you close yourself off, you miss opportunities.”Salmon was involved in Scientifically Yours as a student in the early 1990s. She was a demonstrator, and there were only about 20 girls at the conference, she said. This year, there were 56.Salmon credits Brock for helping with her career, where she was free to take the courses she needed without the space restrictions of larger universities. She received her BSc and MSc from Brock and a PhD from McGill University.Salmon’s advice to the girls was simple — “Be happy.”“I have fun every day, and I learn something every day,” she said. “What more can you ask for?”Salmon works as director of scientific projects at Verdezyne Inc., a California synthetic biology company. Her current research is focused on the production of biofuels, ultimately from non-food crops. As a Brock student, Salmon was also a competitive swimmer and was inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.Scientifically Yours is a two-day annual event in its 20th year. It ended May 6 with a dinner where female high school students mingled with scientific mentors.Links:• Grade 11 girls experiment with science careers – St. Catharines Standard• Biology alumna and hall-of-fame athlete headlines Scientifically Yours | The Brock NewsBaoling Bork, left, Scientifically Yours committee chair, distributes ice cream to Grade 11 girls after a demonstration in Decew Residence. read more