By: Anita Patel
When asked about her life mantra, Bailey Peck replied, “Be a ‘yes man’. Spend your time saying ‘yes’ to opportunities, even if they aren’t your favorite things right away. When you’re presented with a chance to learn, collaborate, or get involved, take it!”
With her vast experience tackling science outreach since high school and a ‘yes man’ mantra in place, Bailey didn’t take very long to say ‘yes’ to an opportunity to engage with the public at the University of North Carolina when it landed at her doorstep. She’s been an enthusiastic DNA Day Scientist Ambassador throughout her Ph.D. and now as a postdoc at the University of Michigan. “My favorite part of DNA Day is seeing high school students immediately start asking teachers for letters of recommendation for summer research opportunities that we’d bring to their attention,” Bailey reminisced. She acknowledged that she herself could have benefited from earlier exposure to scientists as a high school student.
It doesn’t take very long to see Bailey’s radiating passion for STEM, which by the way, is utterly contagious. Since kindergarten, Bailey’s favorite subject was math, an interest that often invited ridicule and laughter for a young girl. However, she feels lucky enough to have acquired several strong, female role models over the years. “SO MANY… so many female mentors,” she emphasized. Now, by taking a particular interest in exciting young people in subjects such as bioinformatics, Bailey never misses an opportunity to empower women in STEM. “I was lucky enough to have had a mentor early on that built up my confidence in science. I solved my summer project in 2 weeks as an undergrad! It made me feel as if I can definitely pursue this career,” Bailey said, humbly acknowledging her luck.
It’s not surprising that Bailey has acquired a plethora of hobbies and interests along her years enthusiastically accepting new opportunities. She’s a yogi, an amateur knitter, bread maker, hiker, and world traveler, just to name a few. When she’s not tackling scientific discoveries, Bailey can be spotted winning trivia competitions around Ann Arbor and digging deeper into the art of succulent growing.