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Biology Overview

Judith S. Weis

Professor of Biology
Rutgers University
Newark, NJ


BA, Zoology, Cornell University
S, Biology, New York University
PhD, Biology, New
York University
Judith teaches undergraduate and graduate students, and is also involved with research and service.
"Study hard, get research experience to be sure this is really what interests you, and women should make sure to find a significant other who will do an equal share of work at home."

What fields of biology do you work in?
Marine Biology/Ecotoxicology.

Q: When did you know you wanted to become a Biologist?
Weis: When I was in college.

Q: What was your college experience like?
Weis: Some good courses, some good research experience, but too many grade-grubbing pre-meds in the classes.

Q: Did you incorporate work experiences while you were an undergrad?
Weis: Yes, I spent the summer between my junior and senior year doing research at  the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Q: How did you get your first job?
Weis: I saw the job advertised and applied for it.

Q: What's the most rewarding thing about being a Biologist?
Weis: Learning new things about how estuarine organisms function and deal with pollutants. Spending time having fun and calling it "work."

Q: Is there an example you can provide that shows how something you've worked on has positively impacted the world?
Weis: Our research contributed to the ban on use of TBT (tributyltin) in antifouling paints for boats and restrictions on using pressure-treated wood in coastal and marsh environments.

Q: Do you spend a fair amount of time traveling?
Weis: Yes I am on a number of advisory committees to the federal government (EPA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and have frequent trips to Washington and other places for meetings. I also attend a number of scientific conferences.

Q: Do you have a mentor? Or did you in your college years?
Weis: Not really.

Q: Do you find yourself working more in a team situation, or more alone?
Weis: More in a team situation with my graduate students and colleagues.

Q: Do you find you are able to balance work with social/family life while working in your current job?
Weis: It's easy now that the kids are all grown up. It was manageable when they were younger because my husband did his share of child care and work at home.

Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you still become a Biologist?
Weis: Absolutely!

Q: Did you think that school prepared you for the way the work gets done in the real world?
Weis: The real world has changed quite a bit since I was in school, so there was no way it could have prepared me well for future things.

Q: Where do you see jobs for Biologists in the future? What should students be doing to prepare themselves to take on those roles?
Weis: The future is in interdisciplinarity be prepared to broaden out your expertise and collaborate with people in different fields

Q: What other advice do you have for precollege students?
Weis: Study hard, get research experience to be sure this is really what interests you, and women should make sure to find a significant other who will do an equal share of work at home.


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