RealJobs: Liz O’Day

Liz O’Day’s work days on Tuesday, February 9 and Wednesday, February 10, 2010.

Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting complete!  My friend Joe calls it the “DAC ATTACK” (referencing a Zach attack from Saved by the Bell).  I couldn’t be happier right now.  During the last two days I had my first DAC meetings to determine where I stand towards completing my PhD.  Of course I was fidgeting with my slides up to the last minute before my presentation.  Unfortunately I operate under the rule, if you wait until the last minute to do something, it only takes a minute to do (a vice I am earnestly trying to break in 2010).

Today I presented all the data I have been rigorously collecting over the last two years—I was both nervous and excited.  I have put my heart into this project, and today was its unofficial debut.  My committee consists of 3 of the most talented scientists in the world—these are my heroes, the people I want to be like one day.  Going into the meeting I had the same type of jitters you get on a first date.  Will they like me?  Will they like my project?  The meeting lasted a little over an hour and it was probably the most engaging, fun, exciting discussion I have ever participated in. This is the best part about being a scientist.  Sharing your ideas.  Your ideas may seem crazy but in the realm of science, some of the craziest ideas have been the most successful.  It’s quite inspiring to watch an idea ignite and see others come together to help it develop.  You may come up with an amazing breakthrough or you may be utterly and completely off the mark.  But sometimes the beauty is in the attempt.

There is no greater feeling in the world, than when you have figured something out. It’s a rush.  As a scientist these are the days you live for, they are rare but it’s what makes the long hours and the measly pay worthwhile. One of the post-docs in my lab says scientists are just like addicts, and the fix we are after, is just getting a glimpse of how the world works.

After my meeting, I took up my regular routine in the lab: western blots, 32-P end labeling, electromobility shift assays, feeding and splitting stem cells, discussing projects with colleagues, reading journal articles and all the usual business.

However today was also a big day in the world of Lizzard Fashion.  We are submitting our application to be a registered Massachusetts non-profit!  I have been back and forth discussing with lawyers the logistics of this process.  It’s like learning a new language; “under article II it is the intent of this corporation to provide funding for scientific enterprises…” I’m a bit of dreamer and I have always had very lofty ambitions, but I would have never thought at age 26 I’d be on the verge of starting my own company.

Lizzard started when I was a kid, my brothers oh-so lovingly used to tease me “Lizzy Lizzard”, a name I absolutely hated. I would cry and pout and they would of course tease me more.  At some point however, I started to embrace the name nickname “Lizzard”.  In high school I started “drawing” (I think doodling is a more accurate description), and in particular I would always sketch clothes.  I even went so far as to design my own prom dresses.  I found the patent I was interested in, I took a road trip to my fav fabric store just over the boarder in Maine, bought the materials, found a seamstress and we worked together to make the two most beautiful dresses I have ever worn. I kept doodling as I got older and I filled up more and more “Lizzard” sketch pads.

However science has always been my number 1.  There is nothing else in the world I can imagine doing.  However, as I have advanced I often receive feedback that I don’t fit the mold of a typical scientist.  Yes, I work hard but I also have a lot of fun. The image of the nerdy scientist is outdated.  I would argue that being smart and being social are not mutually exclusive.  Trectify this duality I have decided to launch my own clothing line, “Lizzard”.

Lizzard is a new fashion company that promotes scientific discoveries and inventions.   At Lizzard we seek to combat the social perception that a life of science is somehow lackluster.  This is simply a misconception.  Science is exciting.  Science is cool.  Lizzard, makes science fashionable.Lizzard offers trendy clothing for males and females with scientific messages.  Each T-shirt comes with a description of the scientific topic in reference to facilitate science education and discussion. The shirts are designed to be fashion forward to help bring science to the masses.  In addition, all clothing made at Lizzard seeks to be “eco-friendly”, T-shirts are made from organic materials and safe chemicals are used in the printing process. Further, Lizzard is a non-profit and partial proceeds are donated to fund additional research projects.   Through Lizzard, I hope to make geek chic~

Check it out at!


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