Career Spotlight - Phylicia Kidd

Photo of Phylicia Kidd
Sunday, October 31, 2021
What is your current role at Yale University?
My background is in biology and I work as a research assistant in the Bewersdorf Lab. The Bewersdorf lab is a part of the Cell Biology Department at Yale School of Medicine.
What are your main responsibilities?
The Bewersdorf lab is a super-resolution microscopy lab that strives to advance the current capabilities of microscopes by improving aspects such as resolution, image processing, and automation. Advances made in the lab help colleagues and collaborators answer interesting biological questions by giving them the ability to better visualize various processes and structures inside cells and tissues. My role in the lab is to provide biological samples for my fellow lab members, who in turn use the samples to demonstrate the capabilities and enhancements made to the microscopes or related software.
What do you like most about your work?
The lab is interdisciplinary so I’m constantly learning new things from lab members as I work alongside them. Also, playing a role in helping to advance the super-resolution microscopy field brings me joy because it helps other scientists answer their important research question.
How does your job affect your general lifestyle?
Working as a scientist has increased my curiosity and desire to understand how things work around me. I find myself constantly googling random things for my own edification.
How did you begin your career?
I attended The University of New Haven where I received a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Forensic Science. After graduation I applied for a research assistant position in the Bewersdorf lab and a couple months later I was hired.  
What steps would you recommend one take to prepare to enter this field?
I would highly suggest getting experience by interning in an academic lab or at a biotech company. Internships will help teach basic skills that are transferable from one lab to the next. Internships can help to narrow down what area of research you want to work in if you are having trouble deciding. The experience makes you more of a competitive candidate when searching for jobs. I also suggest finding a mentor for guidance and networking. 
What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field?
I typically have multiple experiments running at any given time that need to be completed by certain deadlines. So for me time, management and being able to multitask are critical skills. I’ve also become more detail oriented because it’s crucial that I document all my experiments thoroughly for publication and replication purposes. 
If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?
 I think I would take the same path. I’ve truly enjoyed my time here. I’ve gained so many hard and soft skills that I believe will be extremely beneficial as I continue my career in science. 
What does YAAA mean to you and how have you contributed as a member?
Being a part of YAAA means getting exposure to a wide range of content and information through the various events and programs they sponsor such as yoga and meditation, career development, book discussions, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) events just to name a few. I look forward to attending more in the future.
I recently started working as one of the Youth Program coordinators for YAAA. I had a STEM event scheduled but it was postponed due to the pandemic. I’m looking forward to hosting an event before the year.