Daisy Rosas Vargas, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Ithaca College. Daisy grew up in a town outside of Los Angeles, California, and came to New York to pursue her teaching career. Despite some similarities between Southern California and Ithaca, Daisy claims that they remain quite different in respect to “diversity and multicultural food”.
Amidst her training in Chemistry, Daisy has participated in science outreach and science communications initiatives including: the Wonderlab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology, Girls in Engineering, Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS), Graduate Women in STEM (GWiSTEM), Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), 500 Women Scientists and Soapbox Science. Daisy credits these opportunities for allowing her to hone her science communication skills, and represent women of color in STEM. As a professor at Ithaca College Daisy strives for ways to include science communication in her chemistry courses, and currently volunteers at the ‘Sciencenter’ in the hopes of “bridging academia and informal STEM learning programs in the community”.
What’s your favorite thing about being a scientist? Did you always want to be a scientist?
“My favorite thing about being a scientist is that I am constantly learning. I always wanted to be a scientist: a veterinarian, a marine biologist, an astrophysicist and then a chemist!”
Can you think of a specific time when you found science or pursuing science challenging?
“Science is challenging in [the] lab. Ideas are decent on paper but sometimes do not translate in [the] lab.”
If you could give one piece of advice to young scientists or students, what would it be?
“Follow your passion.”
Have you ever made something explode or otherwise wildly go wrong in lab?
“Yes (nothing exploded). But [I] never spoke of them aka the Ph.D. adviser never found out!”
If you hadn’t pursued science, what would you have done instead?
“I would have been an interior designer. I have a knack for color coordination!”