Deanna Tremblay, a postdoctoral recruiter for academic programs at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, shares how her scientific career was shaped by family and travel. This is part of an ongoing series.

Question: Describe a person, experience or event that played a key role in your career decision.

Answer: My mother was the key in my decision to follow a career path in STEM. When I was young, she returned to college to study chemistry. I remember nights when she was mostly unavailable unless my siblings and I studied with her. She was always teaching new science concepts, even if we may have been too young to fully grasp chemistry. I can still recite the definition of temperature – a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules in a gas. She showed me that hard work and determination pays off, and she inspired me to follow in her footsteps.

Q: Describe a person, experience or event that played a pivotal role so far in your career.

A: Until a few years ago, my path was solidly focused on research. But I knew I was not meant to be a bench scientist my entire career. After traveling around the world on a year-long break, I was even more convinced that research was not where I was meant to be. When I discovered the postdoc recruiter position at St. Jude, I was genuinely excited about the opportunity to integrate both my passions for science and travel into a fulfilling career.

Q: What do you know now that you wish you had known as a student or early in your career?

A: I wish my high school and college career counselors had a better understanding of nontraditional career opportunities in STEM. I did not know where to begin searching for opportunities outside of traditional research. Thankfully, there are excellent resources available online now, but these did not exist when I was first laying the foundations for my career path back in high school. The idea in high school was simply if you excel in a certain subject, that is the career path you should follow. It was a bit misguided.