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About Glynis McCray

Glynis McCray is currently a member of Genentech's Cell Biology Group.
She serves on the board of several local and national
science education outreach programs.

Hi, my name is Glynis McCray. For the past 16 years I have enjoyed working as a research associate level scientist in a variety of settings and in several areas of interest. The story of my career as a scientist has a definite upside. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with people from around the globe, been able to experience the exhilaration of working from the outset in a cutting edge industry, and been given a platform to express my curiosity as to how things work. Additionally, my work has allowed me to actively contribute to improving the quality of people's lives.

But alas, every story has two sides. The other side of my story begins when I meet someone for the first time and they ask what I do for a living. Whenever I say "I am a scientist", the response is usually that of a baby deer caught in the headlights. This is most often followed by a hollow "how interesting" and the immediate declaration, by my would be new acquaintance, of the urgent need to make a phone call or such . Needless to say, at the beginning of my career most of my friends were either scientists or science educators.

After discussing this phenomena with the few willing to go beyond the headlight stage, it turned out that, like their fleeing counterparts, they shared a common perspective. The vast majority of them had a number of fears and misconceptions surrounding science and scientists. They thought that science was too difficult, was no fun and that scientists had enormous brains and were terminally boring and nerdy.

Early on it became clear that if my social life was to prosper, I would have to embark on a personal crusade to debunk, at the very least, the boring and nerdy myth. More importantly, I wanted people to be able to be comfortable with and enjoy science and the process of scientific inquiry. In addition, the need for scientific literacy among the populace was evident as, increasingly, we were being asked to make important decisions that required some level of scientific comprehension: How dangerous are genetically engineered tomatoes? What exactly is Olestra?

It is in the spirit of promoting an interest in science, increasing scientific literacy, and saluting our science teachers that I have written the piece presented here. I invite readers to join in my efforts of promotion and to extend the discussion beyond what is presented.

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