Staff Highlight: Hilary Gehin

hilary

The Wei Lab has started a new blog series: staff highlights.  We hope you enjoy getting to know more about the diverse people that compose the Wei Lab.

Where are you from?

I am from Madison, WI.  A true Sconnie at heart!

 

What is your role at the Wei Lab?

Until a few weeks ago, I was the Editorial Associate.  After graduating with my Master’s degree this past May, I became the new Research and Technical Writer.

 

What current projects are you working on for the Wei Lab?

My primary ongoing project is to research and apply for grants to fund all the great research the lab conducts.  I also continue to do editing for research papers, newsletters, and other communications materials.  Lastly, I help out with writing posts for the Wei Blog.

 

What do you like best about working for the Wei Lab so far?

The people.  I feel honored to get to work with such smart and friendly colleagues that enjoy having deep conversations and tackling tough issues like me.

 

What is your best memory of working for the Wei Lab so far?

This isn’t one specific memory, but I continuously am energized by the conversations I have with my colleagues about their research and how it ties to ongoing societal issues.

 

What have you gained from working at the Wei Lab so far?

A greater sense of awareness of deeply rooted societal issues for which there is not a clear or easy solution.

 

What is your personal philosophy?

Life is short so take time for family and friends, travel often, and don’t compromise who you are to please someone else.

 

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?

When I was an AmeriCorps volunteer from 2013-14, I struggled with living below the poverty line.  I didn’t make much money besides a meager living stipend, so I was on food stamps and couldn’t afford anything besides my basic needs.  It was hard to live on such a strict budget.  The chronic stress from worrying about money took a toll on my my psyche and physical health.  Though I knew this situation was temporary, the experience opened my eyes to the realities the students I worked with (elementary kids at a free after-school program) have to face on a continuous basis.

 

Why does education matter to you?

I have always loved school and learning. To me, education has been my lifetime passion. Having a good, and ongoing, education helps you ultimately become a more aware and empathetic person.

 

Who has had been your most influential mentor?

My writing teacher in college, Robert Marrs, inspired me to rekindle my passion for writing.  I didn’t think I could make a career out of writing and opted for a Biology degree instead.  He however encouraged me to take my writing more seriously and ultimately made me realize that I shouldn’t discount what was clearly an important part of who I am.

 

What does equity/inclusion mean to you?

Equity occurs when everyone—regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion…etc. has equal access to resources and opportunities to allow him/her to meet his/her personal potential and feel a sense of accomplishment.

 

What is the best book you have ever read?

That’s hard to answer because I’ve read so many amazing books.  My favorite book of all time though is a tie between “The Little Prince” and “Fahrenheit 451.”

 

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

Don’t doubt yourself—someday your dream of becoming a writer will be realized.

 

How do you define success?

Success, in my opinion, is subjective.  Therefore, I think success is when you have reached, or are actively seeking to meet your personal potential, either professionally or personally.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m an avid reader so you will most likely find me engaged in a book.  Otherwise, I enjoy biking around Madison, crafting, and spending time with my family and cats.

 

Do you have a favorite quote?

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.  What is essential is invisible to the eye.”-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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