Erin Lavik

Erin Lavik

Erin Lavik

Professor Erin Lavik’s lab website

When did you first know that you wanted to be a scientist or engineer? I loved robots and building. When I was 11, I went out to where my dad was mowing, and let him know I was going to be an engineer.

What is your happiest moment in science or engineering so far? There were a lot of them. I remember the first time I collected data on my own and running to my mentor to show her the results. That was thrilling. Having my student come to me with the same look was even better.

Would you ever leave science or engineering? Why? I’ve thought about it. I love science, but it’s not always a very friendly or supportive place, and it can be tiring. I used to get grant rejections on the same day as play rejections. The play rejections were far more constructive than the grant rejections.

What was the most challenging experience you ever had as a scientist or engineer? I had a colleague who wouldn’t share data until we renegotiated authorship. That was pretty terrible.

Knowing what you do now know, would you be a scientist or engineer again? Why? Yes. I love what I do.

Where do you find science or engineering in your daily routine? My son and I love to do demos together. It’s our thing.

When have you felt like you belonged? I was at a Women of Innovation meeting in Connecticut. Almost everyone in the room was a female scientist or engineer.

When did you feel like you didn’t belong? When I started my career, I spent months without a desk or lab, and I worked in other people’s space. Some of them liked to remind me that it was there space, and I didn’t really belong there. I love that I share a lab now and that we all belong.

What do you like to do outside of science? My family keeps me busy, but I write plays, and writing and collaborating with my colleagues in theatre makes me exceptionally happy.