"It was a roller coaster ride that wasn't always easy. But I've always worked hard and now I have a great career doing what I love and helping others."
Kat Suazo discovered her love of science in high school and became addicted to learning more. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Science and has just landed her first job working with individualized cancer treatments.
With her love of science (and Beyonce), Kat's making her mark in the GIRLS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD movement. Keep up the great work!
Every Ella: Tell us about yourself.
Kat Suazo: Eating and napping are my ultimate hobbies. But aside from that, I enjoy working out, going on hikes and now that I have a new puppy, playing with her. I'm also part of Big Brother's Big Sister's. My mom never gave me a sister like I wanted so I had to go out and get my own. "Bigs" are matched with their "Littles" and we're like their mentors. I was matched with my Little when she was 9 years old. She's now 14 and we hang out a couple times a month. I was actually awarded by BBBS and went to a banquet where other awardees shared their experiences and it was very inspiring. It's a great organization to be a part of and hanging out with my Little is always a great way for me to spend my spare time.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I started out at a community college by my parents house. It made the most sense, because I was able to attend there on the President's Scholarship. My original plan was to go to pharmacy school. After 2 years of full time school and working full time, I needed a break. I applied for the Disney College Internship and ran away to Cali to work for Mickey Mouse for a semester. I moved back to AZ after the internship ended so I could finish school. I toured Grand Canyon University and fell in love with it. After speaking with a counselor, I chose to get my Bachelors of Science in Forensic Science. The curriculum had all the science classes I was interested in and who didn't want to be a real life Dexter (minus the psychopath, killer part).
How did you first become interested in this field?
I initially became interested in science in general when I had my first chemistry class as a senior in high school. It was the first class that actually challenged me and I wanted to see how good I could do. That was the start of my path towards my career now.
Tell us about your job at Caris Life Sciences.
Caris Life Sciences does individualized cancer treatment. It isn't Forensic Science like my degree, but I use some of the same fundamentals. I work in the Molecular department where we do the DNA testing on patient tumor samples. The type of DNA analysis we perform depends on the type of cancer a patient has. After looking at a person's genetic make-up and the make-up of their tumor, we can tell you which drug therapies will work best, and which won't... which ultimately improves the chances of survival of someone with cancer.
What is the hardest part of the job for you?
You can't really have an off day. You have to show up feeling good and doing your best. So when you're tired or drained from the week you have to pull it together. You're dealing with many samples a day and very intricate processes. Behind every samples is an actual person so you can't slack. I personally struggle with being narcoleptic and am very fatigued all of the time. I've had to learn to be really good at pushing myself.
What are your goals and ambitions for the future?
I hope to get my Masters someday and continue growing in my career. One great thing about working in the science field and being a Molecular Technician is you never stop learning. I'm a nerd for science and I hope to continue building on my knowledge of it.
Name one woman who inspires you.
Besides Beyoncé? … My mom. She is extremely smart, hard-working and one of the kindest souls I know. Those are 3 traits I hope to have.
If you could have dinner with any female celebrity (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
Beyoncé. I'm obsessed with her. I actually have her Destinys Child CDs in my car right now.. I've been a fan since day 1. She's an amazing performer (I've been to all her concerts) and a strong female. I would love to have dinner with her and see what she's like aside from when she owns the stage at her concerts.
What advice would you like to give to girls?
Go for what you want, don't expect it to be easy and never stop trying. Through the mental breakdowns from finals week every semester, to not always doing well on my tests, having smarter classmates, being overlooked at job interviews, sick from fatigue and having to start from the bottom and work my way up.. it was a roller coaster ride that wasn't always easy. But I've always worked hard and now I have a great career doing what I love and helping others.