Where do you live? Princeton, NJ
What is your profession? Senior Scientist, Global Beauty, Consumer R&D at Johnson & Johnson
How did you get your role at Johnson & Johnson? Tell us about it! When I was in school I always loved studying science and conducting biology research. After attending graduate school, I applied for a number of positions in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health care industry. I had the opportunity to interview for a number of positions in Consumer R&D at Johnson & Johnson, which included conducing anti-aging and skin biology research. I was excited to work for Johnson & Johnson because the company culture and research position gave me the ideal blend of scientific and business experience. Furthermore, working in the consumer products industry has allowed me to enrich the lives of consumers who use the products that I work on every day.
What did you study in school? As an undergraduate at Rutgers University I studied Molecular Biology/Biochemistry. I then did my PhD in Biology, specifically Cell Biology and Biochemistry, at Stanford University. I’ve always had a passion for understanding biology and the way the cells in our bodies work. At a young age I was fascinated by how diseases, such as cancer, can arise from simple mutations in a normal functioning cell. I craved to not only understand, but more importantly to discover how cells develop and function. This passion for science motivated me throughout school, and continues to motivate me as a Senior Scientist in the largest health care company in the world.
Has anyone been a mentor to you? What role did they play and how do you feel about mentorship now? I have been lucky because as member of a research lab, my research advisors have also been my mentors. However, at times in my life when I needed additional mentorship and support I sought out people who were doing things that I eventually wanted to do and operating at a very high level. I would then try to work with them directly, or learn as much as I could from them. I believe that mentorship is a cycle. At times in your life you need guidance from other people, and then at other times in your life you are in a position to provide help and guidance to others. I remain active in working with Co-Ops at J&J and mentoring students at Rutgers as a member of the Board of Governors of Rutgers Alumni Association. Because there have always been people in my life that have been a mentor to me, I make the time to continue the cycle and mentor younger students.
What’s the hardest thing that you’ve had to deal with in your career so far? Graduate school was the best and worst experience of my life. It was a time in my life that was very unbalanced, and I experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. For me, it was a continuous internal battle of not having confidence in myself and believing that I was smart enough graduate with a PhD from Stanford. Whenever you lack internal confidence it makes whatever situation you are facing even more challenging. I was able to slowly build confidence in myself in graduate school by constantly failing without major repercussions. I failed at something on a daily basis — whether it was a small thing like incorrectly setting up a Western Blot, or a large thing like getting a paper rejected from a journal editor. Through constant failure you build resiliency, tenacity and confidence in your abilities, and eventually confidence in yourself.
What has been a really rewarding moment in your career? Winning a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship was the most rewarding moment in my career. I applied to this fellowship, only to be rejected, the previous two years. Obtaining an NSF GRFP was not a requirement for graduate school, but it was a major achievement. By the time I applied a third time, I had devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the application, and finally winning the fellowship was one of the first moments in my career that I truly believed in myself, and believed that I could become a scientist that makes an impact on the world.
What do you want to accomplish in your lifetime? I want to be able to balance having a family and a career. And someday I hope to be a business leader in a position where science, business, strategy and innovation intersect.
What’s something you want young women to remember when thinking about their future? I have never looked back on a time when I worked hard for something that I wanted to achieve and regretted working that hard for it. In the moment it can be difficult to maintain motivation, whether it is to study, put in extra hours, or ask for help or advice. However, in my experience whether you accomplish your ultimate goal or not, I have never regretted investing time into trying to achieving the goals I set for myself. Also, science IS cool!
What’s one thing you want to try to make an impact on in your lifetime? STEM education for women and minorities. I would love for more students to become passionate about studying STEM fields, and I believe that starts with early education and setting the right social expectations about the educational experience.
Where can people find you online if they want to connect?https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliembianchini/ Message me — I’m a fan of networking and building connections.