How to Be a Parent While in School

Shevie shares her passion for Virology and gives great advice about how to juggle being a mother and a student.

1. What is one sentence you would use to describe who you are and what you do?

I am an American living in Israel, a mother, and a scientist pursuing my Master’s in Biology.

2. How did you decide to study biology at the Weizmann Institute?

After completing my undergraduate studies in Biology I knew I wanted to continue studying, but I wasn’t sure exactly which field within Biology I was most interested in. The graduate school at the Weizmann Institute has a unique set up in which each student spends the first year doing at least three rotations in different labs. This gave me the opportunity to be exposed to different topics before deciding what specifically I wanted to study.

3. What is it about Virology specifically that interests you?

For my master’s thesis I research the human cytomegalovirus, the largest known virus to infect humans. This virus has evolved together with humans for thousands of years. In studying virology and more generally microbiology, I see myself as a meticulous investigator of the natural world, paying attention to the connectivity between all things and discerning the mechanisms and laws which dictate life on all levels.

4. How do you hope to use your degree after you graduate? Do you have plans for what’s next?

I love the research I’m doing, so I plan to continue it by pursuing my PhD in Biology next.

5. Do you have any advice for a parent planning to go back to school for a graduate degree?

At the beginning, I definitely had my fears and insecurities because I knew I was entering a competitive environment and I would certainly have less time available to devote to my lab-work than my peers. But I learned that having less time should not stop you from doing it. In reality, I and other mothers in my program are actually incredibly efficient workers. I know I have many other responsibilities outside of school, so I have become much more productive than I thought I could be. Don’t let the fear hold you back. You will learn how to prioritize your school work. If you’re passionate about what you’re studying, then being a parent is no longer an obstacle. I think that being a mother while in grad school has actually been a really positive thing.

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