Employee Spotlight: Kendra Collins, Laboratory Manager
Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. December's spotlight is on our Laboratory Manager, Kendra Collins. Read on to learn about her work and more...
Describe your role at Stratos Genomics.
I wear a lot of different hats as the Stratos Genomics lab manager. I ensure the lab is running as smoothly as possible, from overseeing that orders are getting placed to interviewing potential hires. I get to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes action that goes into running a highly effective and productive lab. And as a contributing member of the lab team, I’ve been lucky enough to have an impact in our Sequencing by Expansion technology. I produce the precursor to our Xpandomer product, the X-NTPs, as well as work on optimizing and expanding on X-NTP production. It’s a wonderful combination of administrative and science tasks that keep my days busy but oh so engaging!
What gets you out of bed to come to work every day?
Technically, my iPhone and my two pups help me wake up every morning (with a little caffeine help). However, coming to the lab everyday means a new day of results and learning. I work with such an amazing team of people who are not only bright but also curious scientists with wonderful personalities. Our company comprises so many diverse areas of the sciences and it really is amazing to see those different groups work together on a project and coming to the table with unique ideas and perspectives.
I think people have a misperception that the “hard” sciences are not creative, however, I can definitely say that I see creative minds at work every day, and that process of creativity is a daily inspiration to me.
Describe your biggest “win” on a project.
Our company has had several big wins during my time here. However, a personal win was the day I demonstrated that the process of making our X-NTPs works! In truth, it was more of a test to make sure that I could successfully make X-NTPs, and while that initial yield was low, it was a feeling of accomplishment that had me absolutely hooked and looking to recreate again.
As we do things in the lab that have never been done before, we can get frustrated when something that should work on paper doesn’t work. But persevering through those challenges and seeing it through to the other side is an amazingly rewarding feeling, and certainly a win anyone can appreciate.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
I definitely won’t be able to choose just one favorite. Mostly, I really like to eat good food, play games, spend time with my friends and family, and value that time we have together—of course this includes my furry family as well! I like to spoil my dogs with trips to open fields (for Izzy, my greyhound) or snuggles (for Sammy, my Chihuahua). I also love to read, make jewelry or other crafts, play team sports (softball and roller derby are so fun!) and try to catch up on movies.
Little-known fact about you that would surprise people:
I almost changed my major from biology and chemistry because of one bad physics class. Thankfully that didn’t happen because I don’t think I’d be as happy with any other background. I also tried out for Sesame Street when I was younger with a singing group I was in. If you’ve heard me at karaoke, that is certainly a surprise!