Ember was founded on the idea that science, tech, and innovation have the ability to solve everyday problems and improve people’s lives.
For International Women’s Day we are shining a light on incredible women working in STEAM who are motivated by the same idea and paving the way for future generations of young women to get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.
Meet Daisy Robinton, a molecular biologist, writer, public speaker, and lifestyle/fitness model with a mission to inspire people from all walks of life to challenge the assumptions we hold about the world and about ourselves.
Q&A with Daisy Robinton
Q: What does a day in the life of Daisy look like?
A: Every day is different! I feel so grateful that I have an incredibly diverse set of projects that I work on regularly. I am excited when I get to dig in to a new project, brainstorm fresh ideas, and meet with other like-minded people who want to use science and technology to usher in a better world. Because I hold a PhD in Molecular Biology does not mean I don’t have room to learn. As soon as we view ourselves as “expert” we limit our ability to learn, and I’d like to always be learning.
Q: Talk to us more about “digging in,” where do you start?
A: Often times there is a lot of fear or misinformation about new technologies, and I love unpacking not only the tech but the ethical, moral and philosophical implications. I hope that my work will allow people to build healthy skepticism, understand their own biases and assumptions, and engage in our changing world with curiosity rather than fear.
Q: You’re wonderfully down to earth, where do you think that comes from?
A: The breadth of my life experience has helped me develop an open mind and willingness to see the world through the eyes of others without judgement. I think this skill is incredibly important when building bridges between disciplines and creating a future that is shaped, in part, through novel biotechnological advances. And integrating those discoveries into a culture, society and world that is changing daily. My ability to meet people where they are, my desire to work and understand each perspective and context, allows me to more readily translate complex ideas in a way that is approachable and inviting to any person in any environment.
My ability to meet people where they are, my desire to work and understand each perspective and context, allows me to more readily translate complex ideas in a way that is approachable and inviting to any person in any environment.
Q: When did you know science was your passion?
A: I did not seriously consider a career in science until I was a Freshman in college. I have a playful nature and would often get reprimanded in grade school for giggling or passing notes, so I think my science teachers often didn’t take me very seriously despite my love for the subject. My early memories that capture my love for science include the hours I would spend sitting in the corner of the playground in preschool digging up earthworms to study. Or the viscosity experiment we did in Kindergarten where we studied how liquids with differing viscosities traveled at different rates down a slanted board covered in tinfoil. Water went fast, and sticky fluids like honey would make a slow descent. I loved witnessing phenomena like this, and still delight in the wonders of science and biology regularly.
Q: If there’s one small step we can take to get more women involved in STEAM, what is it?
A: What I have learned from my mentees is that they really value seeing an example of someone who gave herself permission to pursue interests outside of my rigorous academic training. I think it can be hard to believe that a dynamic and multi-dimensional life in STEAM is possible, because it does require a high level of discipline and focus. For me, being able to engage in multiple careers and a diverse set of hobbies only expands the energy and creativity that I’ve brought to my work in the lab, and my life in general.
...being able to engage in multiple careers and a diverse set of hobbies only expands the energy and creativity that I’ve brought to my work in the lab, and my life in general.
Q: Have you found a support system working with other women in STEAM?
A: I have been lucky to make incredible friends who are insanely talented. A number of these women are multi-hyphenates… women with PhDs and MDs, who see patients, run a lab, start businesses, act as venture partners, and also hop on a plane where we meet on the beach for a weekend away with friends. They make time for friendship. And fun. And sometimes margaritas. A willingness to embrace the fullness of life – work and play – has been a key feature, and has felt so expansive in terms of the possibilities we imagine for ourselves and how we can positively impact the world and lead meaningful lives.
Q: Outside of work, what are your favorite ways to de-stress?
A: I love movement. After sleep, exercise and moving my body are top priorities for me and I find that exercise – especially when outside – reduces my stress and creates space for my creative thinking and idea synthesis. During busy weeks, even just going on a short walk outside helps me to find calm lets my best ideas come together.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: My fellow humans! I love conversation with enthusiastic people from any discipline, but especially those willing to challenge the way the world works and looks. I feel the most energized and inspired after wide-ranging debate and dialogue.
Q: Coffee or Tea?
Q: How do you take it?
A: Coffee in the morning. I make pour over coffee at home using Philz coffee beans, with heavy cream. And then, mint tea in the afternoon and evening.
Q: What’s your ember° number?
I hope that my work will allow people to build healthy skepticism, understand their own biases and assumptions, and engage in our changing world with curiosity rather than fear.