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Meet Our Latest Alumna Spotlight: Claire Westcott

Starting her fifth year of graduate school where she is getting her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, our August Alumna Spotlight, Claire Westcott has truly exemplified what it means to be a leading woman! Continuing her love for science communication, she hopes to be working for a pharmaceutical company post graduation where she is translating scientific research for individuals. Continue reading below to learn more about Claire's volunteer involvement with Louisville Science Pathways, her favorite part about living and attending graduate school in Louisville, and ultimately, how her time in Theta and at Mizzou has been invaluable.

Name: Claire Westcott

Theta pledge class: MC ’11

When you graduated from Mizzou: 2016

Major/Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biology

Hometown: Portageville, Missouri

Where you live now: Louisville, Kentucky

Where do you work right now/what have you been up to since graduation? I am starting my fifth year of graduate school where I am getting my PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Louisville. My plan is to graduate in May and move into a science communication career in biotech/pharmaceuticals.

What's your favorite thing about your job? There are so many great things about being a graduate student that it’s hard to narrow down to just one. First, I love that I have been paid to learn. Science PhD students get paid to go to school and do their job whether they are a research assistant or a teaching assistant. Second, I love that I get to talk about science every day! I’m either talking about my own project, or I’m learning and talking about other science going on around the world.

What's your favorite thing about the city you live in? Louisville has an incredible food scene! There are constantly new restaurants popping up all over town, and there are plenty of styles to choose from. We also have the Kentucky Derby every year which ends up being a month long celebration in the city!

What are you passionate about? I think that science should be accessible to everyone! I’ve spent my free time in graduate school volunteering for different organizations, my favorite one being Louisville Science Pathways. LSP is a paid summer research internship for high school students, and it focuses on getting students who normally wouldn’t have this opportunity into research labs and introducing them to research careers. It’s been a blast running this program and seeing so many young people get excited about scientific research!

What do you do in your free time? If I’m not at the dog park with my pup Fiona, my husband Alex and I are usually out trying new places around town or checking out a local craft fair or festival. We also love hosting our friends over for a game night or a backyard hangout!

Other future career/life goals: Right now I’m at a big turning point in my career and I’m not sure what my career looks like exactly or even where I’m going to end up, but I would love to be communicating science somehow! I would love to be working for a pharmaceutical company in a position where I’m translating scientific research for people, like a medical writer or a medical science liaison.

What do you miss most about Mizzou? Mizzou has a gorgeous campus, and I miss walking around on game day! There’s also nothing like a Mizzou Homecoming!

What do you miss most about Theta? I miss living in the house! It was so great living with my closest friends, hanging out in 99 on the weekends, or seeing who ate the most t-ravs at dinner. There was always something going on and someone to do it with, whether you were studying, hanging out, or needing to go on an Andy’s run!

What is one thing you took away from being a part of Theta in college that has shaped you into the woman you are today? What impact has Theta left on you? Theta taught me how to be a leader. Starting out as a freshman, there were so many women I looked up to! Not only are Theta's leaders in our own chapter, but there are so many Theta student leaders around campus as well! I feel like I learned from the best leading women, and when I joined the exec team as Chief Panhellenic Officer my junior year, I continued to get first hand experience. The lessons learned during my time at Theta have been invaluable!

Do you have a specific favorite Theta memory? My favorite memories revolve around the friendships Theta has given me. My first favorite memory would be meeting Mama Gee at the house when it was her first year as our house mom and I was a freshman. I needed to scan something, and asked her for help. While we were figuring it out, she asked me about my hometown and family. We found out we were from the same area and our families had been friends for years! Our friendship jumped off, and we are still close to this day. My second and third memory would be Big/Little reveal when I found out who my Big was and then the next year when I got my Little. Hi April and Mariah, love you guys!

Anything else you'd like to add? I know this is incredibly cheesy, but when I joined Theta I gained a family. There are women that I met through Theta that are going to be a part of my life forever, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Joining Theta was one of the best decisions of my life!


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