CU Women in STEM: Hailey Winstead

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Meet Hailey Winstead, epigenetics researcher, brunch fan, and the subject of this week’s CU Women in STEM profile!

Bwog Science is back with CU Women in STEM, where we highlight the amazing women in science at Columbia. Our latest profile is from Hailey Winstead (CC ’18), whose interests lie in psychology, specifically behavioral epigenetics!

Major: Psychology/Pre-med

What subjects are you interested in? Psychobiology and Behavioral Epigenetics: basically how the environment can impact our genes, and how our genes then impact our behavior. I am also interested in how hormones, specifically estrogen and testosterone, impact neurodevelopment.

How did you get interested in psychology? Can you remember the specific moment that got you hooked on your subject? My general interest in psychology started in 8th grade when my science class talked about Mamie and Kenneth Clark (see below under favorite scientist). I came into Columbia planning to major in psychology, but thought about switching to biology several times. I stayed with psychology after learning about behavioral epigenetics, because the idea that the environment can change how our genes are expressed and that expression can impact our behavior is just really cool.

What research have you done? I am currently writing a senior thesis on the effects of Bisphenol A (BPA–yes, the stuff in plastics) exposure during the prenatal period. I work in the Champagne Lab and we are interested in the impact of early life experiences on behavior and what epigenetic variations make it possible for associated neural mechanisms to exist within a lifetime and across generations.

What are your career goals? I plan on attending medical school, but am taking a gap year to do research.

Favorite scientist? Mamie Clark. She and her husband are known for their Doll Experiments that examined internalized racism. They were the first African-Americans to receive their PhDs from Columbia, and were the reason for my interest in psychology.

Favorite science building on campus? Schermerhorn, solely because no one really knows that there is an animal facility and wet lab space on the 2nd floor.

What do you do BESIDES science? I love going to Broadway shows, binge-watching Netflix, and spending entirely too much money on brunch.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a STEM major? Don’t compare yourself to others. We are all living different lives and if you are constantly worrying about who is the most stressed out, you’ll lose sight of why you were interested in science to begin with.

Favorite classes/professors at Barnard/Columbia? Take anything and everything you can with Nim Tottenham or E’mett McCaskill (both from the Department of Psychology).

We hope you enjoyed this column! If you know of any awesome women in STEM at Columbia whom you think would be a great subject for this column, please email us at science@bwog.com.

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  1. Alum

    Just one word of advice. Please don't do medical school alone. It'd be such a waste of talent.

    If you do, make sure it's MD-PhD. You're doing great work. Keep it up!

  2. Anonymous

    Smart girl! Best of luck to you!

  3. Barb Loerzel

    What an awesome young lady you are! You will definitely make this world a better place. Give God the glory for your wonderful opportunities. I love you and proud to have had a tiny part in your life.

  4. Penny Mauldin

    What an amazing , intelligent, motivated, annointed , beautiful person. I am so very proud of you. Looking forward to jearing of your next academic adventure. If I may be so bold young cousin...allow me to say I love you Hsiley Bug.

  5. Anonymous

    Women is STEm just drown us with polysyllables and avoid doing hard math

  6. Anonymous

    Is that interior decorator, Marie Antoinette Boyce. really the niece of Mrs. Wesley J. Hennessey?

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