At a young age Chelsea Blankenchip, laboratory coordinator at StemExpress, discovered her love of science. As a gifted student, she enjoyed school and in Jr. High began participating in the Science Olympiad. Out of the classroom she spent hours with her grandfather, a talented contractor, building and constructing things. She liked the challenge of developing an idea and then using tools to put the pieces together.
Her love of science led her to Occidental College in Los Angeles where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in Biochemistry. Her coursework included cell biology, organic chemistry and while there, she was introduced to research at the recommendation of her academic advisor, who she considers a mentor. Through three years as an undergraduate researcher, she discovered her fascination with problem-solving, and a hands-on approach to studying the intricacies of how things work.
After graduation, Chelsea wanted to share her passion for science with others. Through a non-profit organization called City Year, she spent one year at a high school working with students in a low-income, underserved community. She wanted to be an example for others who were interested in pursuing science and open doors for them that perhaps they didn’t know existed.
“Sometimes it is easier to do something when you see someone that looks like you doing it,” said Chelsea. Despite the growing number of jobs in STEM-related fields, opportunities for women and people of color still lag behind. “My mentors, teachers and other women in science have all inspired and challenged me. I’d like to do the same for others.” She already has and will continue down this path.
In the fall, Chelsea will be attending UC San Diego to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Sciences. Ultimately, she wants to become a professor and inspire the next generation of scientists. With her drive, ambition, and passion, the future looks bright.