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This Podcast series aims to provide SMS students with relevant career advice from professionals with STEM degrees who work in various types of fields.

Episode 12: Drug Development and Research

Many students pursuing science degrees at ASU are interested in pursuing a career in drug development and research. In this podcast, Dr. Evan Darzi joins Dr. Austin to speak about his career as a medicinal chemist. Dr. Darzi is a graduate of ASU and received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in medicinal chemistry from the School of Molecular Sciences. He currently works as a chemist at Icagen, which is a pharmaceutical biotech company focused in early drug discovery.

Guest Speaker:

Evan Darzi

Medicinal Chemist




Episode 11: Science Policy & Government

Join Dr. Austin as she interviews Dr. Sarah Staton, a scientist who has been working at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. since 2014. In her role, Dr. Staton provides her scientific expertise to guide policy making and governmental affairs, and she currently works as the Senior Coordinator for the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program. Dr. Staton was a Fulbright Scholar in 2009 and received her PhD in chemistry from SMS, and she surprised many of her colleagues and mentors when she decided to pursue a career outside of the academia and industry. She will share the reasoning behind her choice, and what excites her about working in the government as a scientist.

For more information on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) program as mentioned in the podcast, please see:

Guest Speaker:

Sarah Staton

Senior Coordinator of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative and Partnerships
U.S. Department of State

Episode 10: Science illustrator

PhD Candidate Anna Guerrero who currently works as a professional scientific illustrator joins Dr. Austin on this podcast.  Anna holds a Bachelor's degree in microbiology and is currently pursuing her PhD at ASU, researching the history and philosophy of images in the sciences.  She will share her experience as a scientific illustrator, which allowed her to merge her science background with artistic talent.

Guest Speaker:

Anna Guerrero

PhD Candidate

Arizona State University


Episode 9: Science Teacher

Everyone has a teacher who has impacted his or her life in a positive way, and perhaps this is why many of our current students want to become a teacher themselves.

In today's podcast, Dr. Austin interviews Mr. Chad McCluskey, Alhambra High School's "Teacher of the Year".  Mr. McCluskey received his chemistry degree from ASU and was the recipient of the annual Merit Award during his senior year of college.  He will share why he chose to pursue a career in teaching, and the joys that his students bring to his life.

Guest Speaker:

Mr. Chad McCluskey

AP & Honors Chemistry
Alhambra Science Instructional Leader
Chemistry, BA & Secondary Education, BAE
Alhambra High School, Phoenix, AZ

Episode 8: Environmental Science

In the state of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) exists to provide technical, operational, and policy support for various environmental initiatives related to air and water quality. You may not have realized though that often times, scientists are the people who provide these types of support to benefit the public.

In this podcast, Dr. Austin interviews ADEQ’s Communication Director Mr. Ian Bingham, who has held a variety of roles at ADEQ. He will share how he has used his degree in chemistry to work in the field of environmental science.

The information on Arizona Water Watch is found on the following websites:

For information on internship opportunities at ADEQ, please contact: Ms. Lola Francis-Randolph (

Guest Speaker:

Mr. Ian Bingham

Communication Director
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality


Episode 7: Cosmetic Chemistry

Have you ever picked up a makeup product, read the ingredients listed on its packaging, and felt like you were reading chemistry textbook? That's because there is a lot of science involved in the field of cosmetics!

In this episode, Dr. Austin interviews a cosmetic chemist Ms. Mica Oba. Once an aspiring baker, Ms. Oba will share how a trip to Sephora guided her to become a cosmetic chemist instead. In her spare time, Ms. Oba mentors future cosmetic chemists through her website Geek + Makeup + Wisdom (, where she shares various tips to break into the competitive beauty industry.

(Note: Since the recording of the podcast, Dr. Austin reached out to the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Students at ASU can join as a student member at )

Guest Speaker:

Ms. Mica Oba Cosmetic Chemist Geek + Makeup + Wisdom

Episode 6: Brewing

Did you know that behind every great tasting beer, there is a lot of science involved? Join Dr. Austin as she interviews a quality assurance scientist Ms. Jenna Roberson from Diageo, one of the world's largest producer of spirits and beer. Jenna will take you through the science behind making some "happy beer".

For more information about the American Society of Brewing Chemists, please visit:
For more information about the Master Brewer Association of America, please visit:
For job postings in the brewing industry, please visit:

Guest Speaker:

Jenna Roberson
quality assurance scientis

Episode 5: Starbucks

Tall. Grande. Venti. Hot or Iced.

Founded in Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA, Starbucks is the leader in the coffee industry and a proud partner of ASU. Through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), hundreds of Starbucks partners are completing their Bachelor’s Degrees at ASU. .

However, did you know that many scientists at Starbucks are responsible for how a beverage or food item taste to you? In this podcast, Dr. Austin speaks with the scientists who are responsible for different stages of product development at Starbucks, Dal Perio and Alicia Binion, and a flavoring chemist at Robertet, Laurie Angley. Together they create food and beverage items at Starbucks that will become the next consumer favorite.

Guest Speakers:

Dal Perio Alicia BinionLaurie Angley
Dal PerioAlicia BinionLaurie Angley

Episode 4: TGen

So many science students at ASU are interested in pursuing a career in genetics or biotechnology. This is why Dr. Austin decided to speak with our guest speakers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)!

TGen is a prominent genomics research institute in Arizona and the home of the Helios Scholars Program, which has provided countless undergraduate research opportunities to our ASU students. In this podcast, Dr. Austin speaks with TGen's Manger of Education and Outreach, Ms. Julie Euber, and Research Scientist, Ms. Amanda Courtright-Lim, as they give advice on how to apply to research positions as an undergraduate student.

For more information on TGen's Helios Scholars Program, please visit:

Guest Speakers:

Julie Euber
Manger of Education and Outreach
Amanda Courtright-Lim
Research Scientist

Episode 3: FBI

What words come to your mind when you think of the “FBI”? Many of you will probably answer - a Special Agent!

You may not be aware, but numerous scientists and science degree holders to join the FBI each year. The FBI also has an internship program for undergraduate students who wish to gain experience within the organization. In this podcast, Dr. Austin interviews Special Agents Erin Gibbs, Sabrina Thompson, and Lori O’Brien about their roles in the FBI. For more information on FBI careers and its Honors Intern Program, please visit:

Guest Speakers:

Erin GibbsSabrina ThompsonLori O’Brien

Episode 2: International Sales

Did you know that in the corporate world, science and business often go hand in hand? Join Dr. Ara Austin as she interviews Dr. Martha Medina, who is currently the Vice President of International Sales at 21st Century Healthcare. Dr. Medina shares how she uses her chemistry knowledge to influence her buyers internationally, and she gives advice to our students who may be better suited for careers outside of traditional bench science.

For more information on 21st Century Healthcare, please visit: 21st Century Healthcare is an Arizona company who is greatly interested in hiring students locally. Please consider uploading your resume or check for new job postings here:

Guest Speaker:

Martha MedinaDr. Martha Medina
Vice President of International Sales
21st Century Healthcare

Episode 1: Forensic Science

You’ve seen forensic scientists portrayed on television shows, but how does one become a forensic scientist in real life? Join Dr. Ara Austin as she interviews forensic scientists Krista Placko and Sarah Fredricks from the Mesa Police Forensic Services Division as they give relevant career advice to our ASU students pursuing science degrees.

For more information about volunteering and internship opportunities at Mesa Police Forensic Services, visit:

For specific details on forensic science or crime analysis internship opportunities, click “Mesa Police Department” under the Organization tab,

For a list of crime labs across the United States as mentioned in the podcast, please visit American Academy of Forensic Sciences

Guest Speakers:

Krista PlackoSarah Fredricks
Krista Placko
Forensic Scientist Supervisor
Mesa Police Forensic Services
Sarah Fredricks
Forensic Scientist Supervisor
Mesa Police Forensic Services