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Jenn Watts - BMB Community Profile

As a young scientist inspired by technical advances in developmental biology, Jenn seeks to ask why diseases differentially impact people and communities
Name: Jennifer Watts
Position: Doctoral Candidate

Why did you become a biologist?

In high school, I found a community need to advance medicine

What is your favorite part about your job?

I love the technical aspects of my job such as harvesting embryos, cell culture, and observing new findings.

How have you overcome obstacles to get where you are?

I overcame obstacles to get to where I am today by reflection and evaluation of an event or events that happened. Those reflections allow me to give myself positive feedback and areas to improve

What opportunities or positive experiences helped you get to where you are?

Summer 2020, I was selected to present at a national conference Society of Developmental Biology and really opened doors for me. What is most positive for me is outreach and mentoring future scientist. There are so much potential for the future and I get to watch them grow right in front of my eyes. It is rewarding for me, but I learn so much.

What advice do you have for aspiring biologists?

Be genuine, and patient! Things will fall in place when you are being your total self.

How do you feel that your identities contribute a unique perspective to STEM fields?

Being trained in disease and development, we challenge how things occur. With my identity as an Black woman, I have always been interested “why” (i.e. environment, other invisible factors) which is often ignored in health disparities. With that, I provide unique prospective and research questions.

What are you and/or BMB doing to support underrepresented/marginalized people in STEM?

BMB has been supportive of my outreach and mentoring while balancing my own work

Basic positionality statement:

I am a cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied black woman who grew up relatively comfortable in Houston, Texas with mostly only my Black American mother and my afro-Caribbean father. As I grew older, I have grown to appreciate having two different cultures even though I mostly identify with my American side. One of the things common between the two cultures is the importance of education. While there was a lot pressure to excel in academics, my parents have still supported my dreams aside from school.


Mailing Address

Biochemistry Building
603 Wilson Road, Rm 212
East Lansing, MI 48824

Main Phone:

(517) 355-1600


(517) 353-9334