Meet Our People - Denise

Emerging Leaders in Science

What does your work entail?
I’m in a project management role in trait integration. I get to work with teams from several different organizations within Monsanto including automation engineering, molecular breeding technology, technology pipeline solutions and several others. I’m working on new platform implementations and process improvements – optimizing workflows within the genotyping and nursery processes. These efforts allow trait integration to grow and deliver the increasing number of products within the Seeds & Traits pipeline for all of Monsanto’s major crops.

What have you liked the most about your job so far?
I had the opportunity to visit a farm for “farming 101.” I really enjoyed my time on the farm – it was very eye-opening, especially learning about agronomic practices and the business side of farming. I also liked visiting the molecular marker lab in Ankeny, IA. It really helped me understand the scale of the projects I’m working on.

What were you doing prior to becoming an Emerging Leaders in Science participant?
I was working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Prior to that, I worked as a restaurant manager with Marriott International for seven years.

What was your academic path?
I received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Tampa, M.S. in Biomedical Science from Marshall University in West Virginia and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou).

What led you to applying for the Emerging Leaders in Science Program?
The fact that you could rotate through different areas of the company and learn both the science and the business and how to combine the two. I liked the fact that it was a scientific industry position with more business exposure.

What have you liked the most about the Emerging Leaders in Science Program?
It really opens a lot of doors that may not necessarily be open in other roles. It also makes it very easy to meet people and get information. What I really like is the diversity of the work I do– every day is different!

What advice would you give to future Emerging Leaders in Science participants?
You really have to be open to networking. It isn’t always easy talking to people you don’t know, but it is so important in this program. Also, be flexible – change management is important! Be aware that this program is not for people who want to be an “at the bench scientist” for the long-term. If you are interested in management, this program is for you. One last piece of advice: the program is what you make of it – don’t be afraid to take the reins and ask for opportunities that are catered to your skills, or skills you want to develop.