Highlighting women in geobiology at MIT: Lily Momper, PhD

Summons Lab | EAPS News
Friday, July 17, 2020

EAPS Summons Lab reconnects with alumni and revisits their work at MIT.

Story originally written for the EAPS Summons Lab

Current Role: I work in the field of environmental consulting for a firm called Exponent.

Years in the Summons Lab: I was in the Summons Lab as the W.O. Crosby Postdoctoral Fellow from 2016-2018.

Favorite Memory: My favorite MIT-related memories were the Summons lab retreat in 2017 and field work I did in Hamelin Pool, Western Australia (north of Perth). For our lab retreat, Roger rented a beautiful cottage in rural Vermont and we all drove there, spent the weekend, and had science conversations, lots of fun and got to know each other all weekend. The field work in Western Australia was an incredible experience — it’s a site where Roger has been doing research for over 20 years. I went with Kelsey Moore and Tanja Bosak. It is so remote, we seemed to be the only people on the entire coast — we drove there through the outback on not quite actual roads. We had a team of 4 women and spent almost a week sampling. It was a fantastic trip.

Research Foci and Initiatives: I focused on microbial ecology, using bioinformatics and genetic sequencing to try to understand how microbes have evolved over Earth’s history.

Advice for young women pursuing STEM: Try to find a solid female mentor. If you are an undergrad, look for a lab that you are interested in and see if there are any female grad students, and if you are a grad student, seek out women post docs. Mentoring upcoming female scientists has been a really important part of my career and I think it’s important to foster new women scientists.

To learn more about Lily Momper, her research, and her current work, check out her page here!