Mark Stoeckle is a Senior Research Associate at The Rockefeller University where he specializes in Environmental Genomics research.
Mark grew up in suburban Boston, and throughout his childhood and adolescence enjoyed catching frogs and butterflies, and birdwatching. Mark recounts that visiting New York City triggered an excitement “similar to exploring East Africa as a medical student–both wildly exotic, slightly dangerous environments”, and credits that feeling, in part, for driving him to become a New Yorker.
What’s your favorite thing about being a scientist? Did you always want to be a scientist?
” [The] best things about being a scientist are that your job is to try to solve problems—this can be satisfying even if you don’t figure out the answer—and to discover things that no one else knows—what could be more exciting!”
Can you think of a specific time when you found science or pursuing science challenging?
“Sometimes it is hard to convince other people that you have discovered something new; scientists are very strong skeptics.”
If you could give one piece of advice to young scientists or students, what would it be?
“Science is a human activity—find people who can help you learn and make connections.”
Have you ever made something explode or otherwise wildly go wrong in lab?
“Things go wrong every day! Nothing very dramatic so far, phew.”
If you have a chance to get involved in something at the beginning, that is a wonderful opportunity. You will quickly become an expert and can help shape the direction the field takes.
If you hadn’t pursued science, what would you have done instead?
“Medicine. I have an MD degree and was a practicing clinician and teacher for a number of years before switching to environmental research.”
If the building was burning, what single item would you grab as you ran out the door and why?
“If at home, I would grab Snakey, our 5-foot pet corn snake.”