Senior Postdoctoral Fellow
Ignacio F Mata
Employer: University of Washington

Position description:
I am currently working as a researcher studying the genetics of Parkinson's Disease.

Photo: Ignacio F Mata
How They Got There

Undergrad degree:  Biology

Favorite class in college:  Biology

Graduate degree:  Yes, I pursued a doctoral degree in neurogenetics.

College to career:  I majored in biology with an specialization in genetics. In my last year of college I contacted the genetics department at my university to volunteer in a genetics lab, and that is how I got involved and learned most of the techniques I used for my Ph.D. I also I had the opportunity to meet people in my field that help me through the whole process. A major step was moving to the US to pursue my dream of becoming an independent researcher.

Career influences:  I have always loved nature, and researching how things work. I got a microscope when I was 10 years old.Then my biology teacher in high school was the one who made me love biology. Later on in my education, several genetic classes made me who I am today. I always take the opportunity to meet the best people in my field at meetings and try to learn as much as I can.

The Ups and Downs
Some of the most challenges aspects of my position are the amount of years you have to go to school, money, time, etc. and after all that, you still don't get paid very well, and work long hours. However, some of the positive aspects are the flexibility in the hours, traveling to different meetings, and the best of all - I am one of the lucky people that actually has a job that he loves.

My best advice is do what makes you happy. If making money is going to make you happy, then study something that will allow you to do so. If you want to help people - do so, but don't pick a career for the wrong reason or you will regret it your whole life! Once you find what you like, work to be the best at it!