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Mothers in Lab Coats – Episode 008

Dr. Beth Bennett
AcademicsHuman BiologySattler College Podcast

Mothers in Lab Coats – Episode 008

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In our first episode of 2024, Dr. Beth Bennett talks about pursuing her PhD and a career performing scientific research, all while raising children with her husband. They discuss why women should consider studying the sciences and the opportunities for careers in medicine. Through her research, Beth has traveled to many countries and worked in labs with people from all over the world. They also discuss Christian mistrust in scientific institutions and how to interact with it.

Beth Bennett, PhD is the Assistant Professor of Biology at Sattler College. She received a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland Baltimore, where she researched mRNA stability and the biophysics of RNA-protein interactions. She has since worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Phil Cole, first at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, and then at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. There, her research interests have been in epigenetic pharmacology primarily involving acetyltransferase enzymes.

Beth tries to show love to those around her wherever she finds herself. In graduate school, she was deeply involved in a student-led initiative to feed the homeless in Baltimore City. As a post-doc she was involved in international scholar fellowships both in Baltimore and Boston. In 2017, Beth married David Bennett III. They lived in Brighton, MA for the first nearly four years of marriage before moving to Wrightsville, PA to care for family responsibilities. Together they parent three young and vivacious children. 

Learn more about studying human biology at Sattler College.

Mentioned in this episode:


0:04 – Exploring Biology and Opportunities in Boston
9:58 – Biology Relationships and Career Options
20:39 – Exploring Faith, Food, and Career Choices
28:04 – Balancing Parenthood and Academic Pursuits
45:15 – Announcement


This transcript has been auto generated and likely contains errors.

Zack Johnson: 0:04

Alright, it is January 24th 2024. You are the first interviewee on this year’s podcast. Congratulations, dr Bennett. So usually I read a bio and then we start a conversation. Can I call you Beth after the conversation, as opposed to Dr Bennett? But you do. Yes, you are a doctor. So Beth Zikoni was born to a family of school teachers in the foothills of the Pennsylvania mountains near the town of Shippensburg. From both of her parents she was taught a love of God, a love of the church and the joys of learning new things. From a father of Italian American heritage came an appreciation for travel, good stories, pasta and other intriguing foods we have lots to talk about. From a Swift chairman mother came a love of order, attention to detail and hearty work. This blend of attributes coalesced merely in the academic world, where each became useful in crafting a life far different than practiced in the Cumberland Valley. Beth received her bachelor’s of science in chemistry from Shippensburg University. She then moved to the University of Maryland, baltimore, where she received a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology while working in the lab of Dr Gerald Wilson. The emphasis of her research was mRNA stability and the biophysics of RNA protein interactions. After graduating, beth worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr Phil Cole, first at John Hopkins in Baltimore, maryland, and then at Harvard Medical School in Boston, massachusetts. There, her research interests have been in epigenic pharmacology, primarily involving. This is where I’m going to use your help, acida.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 1:58

The CDO transferases.

Zack Johnson: 1:59

There we go, and then enzymes One more time.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 2:02

The CDO transferase enzymes.

Zack Johnson: 2:03

Sorry, you can know my familiarity with that word. Beth tries to show love to those around here wherever she finds herself. In graduate school, she was deeply involved in a student-led initiative to feed the homeless in Baltimore City. As a postdoc, she was involved in international scholar fellowships both in Baltimore and Boston. In 2017, beth married David Bennett III. They lived in Brighton, massachusetts, for nearly the first four years of marriage before moving to Wrightsville, pennsylvania, to care for family responsibilities. Together, they parent three young and vivacious children. Thank you so much for being here today with us. Do you want to add or correct or subtract anything on your bio? First of all, since it’s fresh, that’s correct. All right, and after reading your bio, it’s obvious that you’re familiar with biology. So I thought I’d just kick it off with the big question why did you decide to study biology? And maybe we can chat about why should other people study biology. It’s a big question.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 3:12

Yeah, starting from a personal level, several reasons. One, it was practical. I was actually my other coming out of high school. My other career option that I seriously considered was actually photography and I just weighed the pros and cons making people look good on paper versus making them feel good in life and there’s some minor psychological benefits to making people feel like they look good but they’ll look good in life or actually have healthy life sort of one out. I had a cousin and a half that worked at Novartis and she gave me a lot of tips on. She’s a little bit closer to me in age than you might predict. She gave me a couple tips on her job. What she liked about it I really liked in high school. I really liked science, especially chemistry, and I remember shortly after, after maybe my junior year of high school, one of my friends actually got a summer internship at Fort Detrick during research and I remember just sitting there. I can still picture sitting on the curb outside at lunch and saying to myself that is what I want to do. But she was working at Fort Detrick, it was the military. I wasn’t going to compromise my ethics and work for the military directly or indirectly, and so I just sort of let it go. I shadowed at a hospital in a phlebotomy lab for a high school shadowing day. Just felt really sort of boring.

Zack Johnson: 5:07

Okay, what’s a phlebotomy lab?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 5:09

Phlebotomy lab, basically processing blood samples.

Zack Johnson: 5:11


Dr. Beth Bennett: 5:12

Okay, so just running, it was just sticking them in machines and the machines generated info. And talking to my cousin who worked more in drug development at Novartis and hearing more what she did on the research end piqued my interest. That way Around that time I also read an article about the benefits of nutritional research and that interested me. One weekend my parents were actually they were away for the weekend speaking at some marriage seminar and I was home alone with college catalogs. And they came home and I announced that I am going to Cornell majoring in nutritional science. Right, and this is I had taken. I was out of high school a year and a few months and my dad’s like, okay, we’ll go to Cornell next weekend, or like I’ll call up my friend from college, but we’ll take a trip up there. It’s fall. Who would not want to go to upstate New York in the fall. And so we did. I happened to go there. We stay with my dad’s college friend. We sat in a canal info session and they told me nothing about the quality of their education. It was all about work or where I’d be a leak Right and I was unimpressed. We stay with my dad’s college roommate who had sent one of his their children to not roommate, but friend, college friend. They had sent one of their children to Cornell and they’re like, yeah, it’s not worth your money. But so I decided that I was going to apply to the local state school, shepard University, do two years there, get all my nutritional science pre-rex in and then transfer to Cornell.

Zack Johnson: 6:57

All right, and then? So that’s why you studied. Why should other people?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 7:02

study. Why should other people study? There’s a lot of reasons. I mean, you can help people Like. Part of the part of the mission of Jesus is to bring wholeness, and physical wholeness is not the end all be all, but it sure feels good to feel good, and you can’t function if you’re sick, and I think there’s a lot a lot to be said for benefiting people that way. I would say in general, from a perspective a lot of Sattler students would be. It provides access to limited access countries. I mean, I was invited to give a scientific talk in Iran. If not, not everybody is going to get that invitation, so that would yeah. It just opens many doors, and not just internationally but also locally. Most research institutions are called the United Nations of the world Up until now. This may change, but the US has attracted the world’s best scientists and so you get a chance to interact with people from all over the world. And who is the best missionary to their home country? But the person who’s the native.

Zack Johnson: 8:29

And I’m going to go on a little bit of a sidetrack here, but knowing you and interacting with you I’ve seen you. I mean these were take advantage of Boston a lot more than your average person. I remember when I first met you, you showed up with yours. There’s always someone you were with that you had met. That was really interesting and it’s kind of tagging onto this the US is attracting really interesting people. I’d love to hear you talk a little bit about Boston and studying biology in Boston and some of maybe the unique opportunities that exist and just sort of the benefits of Boston as well. I don’t know if you can speak to that.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 9:11

You might be able to say that Boston is the best city in the world.

Zack Johnson: 9:14

Oh, not the best, but maybe that it makes sense. It makes sense to be here in the city and it opens a few doors that might not be available otherwise.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 9:23

Yeah, I would say any research institution, especially one that’s in an urban environment. A quality research institution in an urban environment draws a lot of people and draws people who maybe have at least an intellectual curiosity and Christianity, and that’s the first step in developing and working shoulder to shoulder with somebody is the best way for the gospel to be shown.

Zack Johnson: 9:58

So you’re saying like in a work day?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 10:00

In a work day, Shoulders, shoulder to shoulder, or having lunch with people, but yeah, I mean my lab mates. A lab is like a family in many ways, like my lab mates saw me when I was tired, when I was grumpy, I was even chewed out for something slightly unethical once upon a time and in sharing things that I wasn’t supposed to share. But you get to see how you can you get that for more details.

Zack Johnson: 10:34

I feel like I have that.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 10:36

I shared my ID to give a collaborator access to a lab space which he forgotten his ID.

Zack Johnson: 10:46

Okay, it’s not as juicy as I thought it was going to be. And then I just want to say I am always do you have any tips for people to develop relationships in the day to day life that might lead to gospel conversations? I feel like you’ve done that or I’ve watched you do that really well, and any tips on that? That’s a different.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 11:10

That is a tough. I mean, that’s your switching brain. Yes, our face is there. You can read the book Godspace. They have a good, a number of good strategies in that one, but I think just being authentic is a good. Being authentic and non non preachy If you’re devoted to Christ, like it’s going to come out.

Zack Johnson: 11:34

What do you mean by non preachy? I understand that, but it’s say more on that.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 11:41

I remember in graduate school actually having conversations that just flow naturally, Like what did you do? This weekend? Had a conversation in graduate school talking about my cousin’s wedding that turned into a spiritual conversation, things like that.

Zack Johnson: 12:04

And so kind of at this, I think, a conversational level. There’s this idea that you can tell when people start a conversation and they’re trying to get to an end result. So not doing that. Yes genuinely Having legitimate conversations, yes, rather than having a.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 12:23

And it gets into the whole idea that Jesus did most of his teaching by asking questions, not by lecturing to people.

Zack Johnson: 12:29

I agree.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 12:30

Maybe I’m lecturing right now.

Zack Johnson: 12:31

No, you’re not All right, let’s go back to bio. So you became the program coordinator for the bio program, I think three years Wow, it’s like that long ago. Maybe two, two years ago and then one of the big initiatives was to establish multiple tracks within the biology program. Do you want to speak a little bit to that and what the tracks are and why you did things like that?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 12:56

We did it because not everybody has to be an MD is cut out to be an MD. There’s a whole diversity of careers open to somebody with a biology degree and there’s just different nuances of what each need. For instance, if you’re going into research, human pathophysiology is not going to be as important as if you’re going to PA school, as something like physics is going to be more important to, say, occupational therapists but less important to, maybe, somebody who’s going into nursing.

Zack Johnson: 13:34

So what are the tracks? Do you have them off the top of your head?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 13:37

So pre-med, that’s what we started off with. So the pre-med track, perhaps the most rigorous. You only have two free electives. We work really hard to keep those free electives for our pre-med students. The basic human biology, which is the same thing as the pre-PA track. So somebody who wants to be a physician’s assistant or just have a biology degree for whatever graduate program or what they want to work as a lobtak, sort of like the plain vanilla, gets you everything you need for the broadest breadth of options. So that’s two. Pre-research, again, less on anatomy and physiology, more on some of the harder math and science. Let’s say pre-PT or DPT.

Zack Johnson: 14:26

Doctor of physical therapy, ot, occupational therapy and BSN nursing, so each different track is tailored to a student’s interests.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 14:38

It is tailored to the needs to get into post-boc programs. So it’s whatever you need to get into. So, for instance, pre-bsn, it’s set up that if somebody wants to do an accelerated nursing program after they graduate from Sattler, there’s usually 10, 11 months accelerated nursing programs, mainly clinical work. They get all their book work out of the way. These are all the courses they need to get admitted.

Zack Johnson: 15:05

And so, in general, this is a hard question. I feel like this is more of a marketing thing, but what are the career fields you can get out of a biology major? There’s a lot of them.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 15:18

Yes, I mean everything that I listed. And I mean with medicine. I mean we also talk about dentistry. We’re talking about tomatry, podiatry, ophthalmology, every subtype within that, or diversity. Dentistry is a great option. It gives you a good quality of life relative to some types of hospital medicine.

Zack Johnson: 15:44

I have a best friend who encourages all his children to be dentists. Really, if it kind of makes sense.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 15:51

Yeah, there’s a high suicide rate, but if that doesn’t bother you, In dentistry. Yeah, because of the pain inflicted.

Zack Johnson: 15:58

I did not know that. On the people practicing because they inflict pain.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 16:03


Zack Johnson: 16:06

I’ll make sure they go and update mine.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 16:10

I think it could be circumvented. But yes, I would say dentistry. My roommate in graduate school was a dentistry student. My father-in-law was a dentist. It’s actually a good quality of life. You don’t have to be on call a weekend. Spend the time.

Zack Johnson: 16:23

And then I just wanted to give your department a shout out. Many of our one of the big tests that students prefer for is the MCAT. What does the MCAT stand for? I don’t know. I should look that up. Does it stand for anything?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 16:39

Medical college admissions test.

Zack Johnson: 16:41

And so a lot of our, some of the students I’ve known, spend a lot of time preparing for that, and can you talk a little bit about that process and then some of the results you’ve seen with the students you’ve worked with?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 16:53

So you want me to say what our median MCAT score is.

Zack Johnson: 16:57

You say it Damn. It’s what I want.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 17:02

The median MCAT score is the 98.5 percentile currently.

Zack Johnson: 17:06

I think it’s the highest. I think it’s the highest in the country, really. Yeah, somebody can do it.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 17:12

There’s a lot you could do when you have a limited end.

Zack Johnson: 17:16

I’m going to milk it. While we have it, enjoy it.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 17:19

But yeah, so our students have done well and we actually last year we had our first student get into PA school Directly out of Sattler. It’s actually harder to get into PA school admissions or lower than med school, so there’s actually a 7 percent success rate of going directly from undergrad to PA school. Oh really, and one of our students hit that.

Zack Johnson: 17:43

I did not know, yes, so what’s usually in?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 17:46

between. Usually people have to work for several years in a clinical setting.

Zack Johnson: 17:50

I didn’t know about that.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 17:51

Yeah, that’s exciting, yeah.

Zack Johnson: 17:54

And then this is another sidetrack, but not really so. There’s obviously the academic side of career and things like this and then but you mentioned before that a bio degree can open the doors to cross cultural let’s just say missions, opportunities. Are there any models or stories you know of like medical missions, done right in a good way, that you like to talk about or inspire you?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 18:22

Medical missions yeah.

Zack Johnson: 18:23

Precisely or anything. I’m not clinical Anything in the sphere of biology.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 18:30

I would say in general, just the idea of well, when I was at Hopkins International Fellowship they had people come from all over the world and we saw numerous people become believers and seeing them go home and the fact that they were able to have in their home communities.

Zack Johnson: 18:55

Yeah, that makes sense. And even being like a missionary doctor, do you have any thoughts on that?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 19:04

It gets you in the country and it depends on how you do it. Are you actually caring for people? What’s the setting? How much are you pushing people through as fast as you can? Are you integrating into the local community? Are you planning churches? How holistically are you doing your job? There’s a time I mean not to say that if you just run into the front lines wherever and hand out medications or do surgeries as fast as you can, there’s nothing wrong with that Right. But the more holistic your job, I think, the better the benefits other people.

Zack Johnson: 19:52

Yeah, that’s right. Right, change your tracks again. So here at Sattler we have this pearl moment where we invite people to give pearls of wisdom, and I’ve heard you share some pearls and I think it’s been an audience favorite when I ask is there any pearl that stands out to you that you either that you’ve heard or you’ve given, that you like to talk about just wisdom that you’ve encountered in your life that you like to share?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 20:25

I know it’s hard to think of something on the spot, but the one that’s the most clear cut would actually be the house fire that I had.

Zack Johnson: 20:35

Tell us about it.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 20:36

Forget if you were around for that one. When I was post-doc at Hopkins, we had spent an evening with the Veritas Forum and they had Ravi Zacharias before back when we still thought well of him and Nabil Koreshi over to speak about the problem of if there’s a good God, why is there evil in the world had a great, great time. I think the Muslim Student Association and some of the Christian Student Association sort of went together, had a blast. At the end of the evening I was sort of tired and one of my friends offered me a ride home and they were super nice people so I decided to take them up on the offer and I lived on a little Roe Street in Baltimore, one way street and we get to the one cross end of my street and there were fire trucks there and I didn’t think anything. And we get to the other end and there’s fire trucks there. I decided to jump out the car and I knew that my housemate was actually baking pumpkin pies as my birthday gift for the International Fellowship Thanksgiving dinner the next day. They thought Mennonites were good pie makers and therefore I should be able to bake pies, but she volunteered to pick up the slack for me as my birthday gift. And, sure enough, instead of six pumpkin pies for my birthday, I got what at the time looked like a gutted not completely gutted a kitchen. Gutted stove, gutted, lots of fire, damaged house. I’ll put it that way.

Zack Johnson: 22:20

And what’s the pearl?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 22:25

It was a contradiction of just being at a talk, of hearing about the goodness of God in the face of evil, and I had to immediately apply what I heard to the situation. So about two months later, when one of my Persian colleagues stopped by my house after we had half moved back in and opened the door to the remodeled version, first words out of her mouth for congratulations. So instead of six pumpkin pies for my birthday, god had decided to give me a $30,000 remodeled kitchen.

Zack Johnson: 22:58

Hey, so there’s a silver lining, a huge one, yeah. And then, speaking of pumpkin pies, that’s one of my favorite foods. You’re probably the only person that mentions food in their bio. I don’t quote me on that, but you mentioned that from your father, who was Italian-American heritage, came into appreciation for travel, good stories, pasta and other intriguing foods. Is there anything more there? What kind of intriguing foods are you talking about?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 23:30

I do like trying diverse cuisines, especially hanging out at the Hopkins International Fellowship we had a different ethnic cuisine almost every week and I enjoy trying and trying to cook.

Zack Johnson: 23:49

What’s some of your favorite? I’m just curious. Top five, top 10.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 23:53

Top Ethnicities.

Zack Johnson: 23:56


Dr. Beth Bennett: 23:57

Ethnicities. Well, I mean, my mother claims I inherited all my father’s taste buds and none from her. I do really like Italian food and then it’s just sort of a radius out from there. I would say Middle Eastern Greek version would sort of be the next Turkish, as long as you use tomatoes. My father’s cooking advice was if it doesn’t taste good, just add more garlic. So anybody that uses garlic tomatoes, eggplant you have a likelihood of being good.

Zack Johnson: 24:32

The studying biology make you a better cook.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 24:35

It’s actually interesting. A lot of biologists do tend to dabble in cooking. There was actually an IPI in graduate school, as wife worked for a restaurant in Baltimore where the PI was actually a few months away from graduating from Hopkins biophysics program and just didn’t feel like writing his thesis. So he just dropped out and started a restaurant.

Zack Johnson: 25:01

That makes sense to me, and then just Just a lot of us just mixing things up and then tying this back to sort of a previous conversation. Have you found that food is like an entryway to friendship? Yes, and how?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 25:15

Because everybody has to eat.

Zack Johnson: 25:17

And so how do you become sort of, how do you leverage that interest to make connections with people?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 25:24

It’s at least one conversational starter when you’re a nerdy lab person who hasn’t left the lab to do much else in life.

Zack Johnson: 25:34

And would you make food together or would you go out to a?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 25:37

restaurant, sometimes having them teach you how to cook their ethnic food.

Zack Johnson: 25:43

And do you do that at their abode or your abode?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 25:46

It depends. Okay, got it Not in the lab.

Zack Johnson: 25:49

Not in the lab, but how would that?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 25:52

That would be a biosafety concert.

Zack Johnson: 25:54

That’s right. And then so you mentioned one book called Godspace. Are there any other areas of just books, or any books or even other things that you consume on a regular basis? Zoom, consu, sure, media books not necessarily media podcasts that you like to talk about If not?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 26:20

Yeah, another book on that subject, I think would be Once I Was Lost. I don’t think I’d forget the authors, but it’s by inner varsity press.

Zack Johnson: 26:31

Okay, what’s that? What’s that?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 26:32

It’s the five thresholds of postmodernist must cross to become a believer. Okay, so analogous to you. Know we talk about sewing and reaping, but it sort of puts that sewing and the early stages into categories. It’s not just when someone makes a decision for Christ, it’s each of those early things, excuse me, like learning to trust the Christian Right, having intellectual curiosity, being willing to change.

Zack Johnson: 27:01

Got it. And then I’m going to say one of the harder questions for the end, if you’re ready. It’s not a hard question, but I think it’s one that a lot of people might resonate with and I want to ask it if you’re a young lady and you have a vision for career and family and studying biology, but there’s sort of a you feel like you have to choose between the two, how do you approach that decision in life and can you help me navigate that tension as to why, if you have a mind for a family, studying is it necessary? You shouldn’t preclude or just close the door on studies? Definitely not. Does that make sense? So tell me about it and how you’ve gone about your mother. You have a family.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 27:49


Zack Johnson: 27:49

I’d love to hear how you balance all these things.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 27:52

You can ask me in 20 years it’s for my analysis of whether I did everything right Maybe 40 years. So what do they say? How your grandchildren turned out?

Zack Johnson: 28:01


Dr. Beth Bennett: 28:04

Yeah, parenting is as hard as a PhD or harder, but I think, whether it be medically relevant topics or just whether it’s learning how to think, how to deduce, teaching your children how to deduce logically At any point, I mean, getting an education is not a lost cause, right? I mean, thankfully I didn’t have to go into debt at all, and that was definitely helpful. But learning how to think and being able to train your children how to think is never a lost cause. It definitely helps to marry a guy who is invigorated by your studies instead of intimidated by them. I think my husband actually enjoys my teaching Maybe not as much as I do, but notably enjoys it just because of the great conversation starters it is. His degree is in chemical engineering, and so we have some overlap, I think, in at least carry a scientific conversation on some topics. So, yeah, I mean Sattler is good because they respect family.

Zack Johnson: 29:22

Right, and I think that’s just an institutional tension that we’re trying to. We’re a new institution, but how do you respect family while having a deep respect for intense study?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 29:35


Zack Johnson: 29:37

I mean. So there’s some people that med school is a huge time commitment with your wife, a lot of time, and I feel like there’s a way to balance those right, where you can do both without losing one or the other. I mean, we have to believe that right.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 29:52

Yeah, yeah. I mean I would like to think that there is. I mean, there’s only you only have so many hours in your life, but what can you do and how much can you do in that time? I mean, I prep for class while my children sleep. That’s how I calm myself down in the evening.

Zack Johnson: 30:15

By prepping for class. Yeah, I like it.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 30:19

I don’t like bed Over break. I had some issues actually that I just couldn’t fall asleep because I didn’t have anything to calm myself down to study. But so yeah, there’s a balance. I mean, I obviously couldn’t be. I would not want to be a physician. That’s why I’m teaching at Sattler and not working in research, because they expect 30 or 60 hours in the lab in research and I just didn’t want to do that. And teaching is much more forgiving and on a part-time basis it’s possible.

Zack Johnson: 31:02


Dr. Beth Bennett: 31:04

I know other people, I mean, who are attending positions but have picked polemology or something that’s less demanding, less on call time.

Zack Johnson: 31:13

I’m not going to no, not polemology. I think I Polemology, polemology or lungs, lungs, lungs. Yeah, I just just for the audience. You know I’m kidding. Yeah, and then how many? Children, do you have Three, and what are their names?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 31:33

And it’s David IV, Angelina and Miriam.

Zack Johnson: 31:37

And so you’re able to teach and be a mother at the same time.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 31:45

You can critique.

Zack Johnson: 31:46

You can critique, I’m not criti. I’m not criti, I’m not critiquing.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 31:51

Currently trying to do both.

Zack Johnson: 31:53

Good yeah, I think it’s just something that I’m encouraged by, because a lot of times, people there’s like you can only do one or the other and I. Obviously you have to balance it.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 32:05

It helps. It helps that I got married not at 25 and sort of had built a fairly good foundation before I got married and had taught classes a couple times before. I had three children and things like that add to it. We have a good support network and I have a good husband.

Zack Johnson: 32:34

That’s great. And then all covers travel, because I know you’ve traveled. You mentioned Iran.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 32:41

I did end up going there.

Zack Johnson: 32:43

I was going to ask you that you did not end up going.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 32:45

My PI cared about me and told me I shouldn’t go. I got the invite at what was it? A week or two before the US issued a travel advisory and PI stands for. Oh, principal investigator.

Zack Johnson: 32:57

Which is at what?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 32:58

So it is a person who gets a grant from the NIH Got it. So, basically, if you’re in research, so in research I did graduate school, got my PhD and then I worked as what we call a postdoctoral fellow. It’s, in essence, the PhD equivalent of medical residency. So you’re working under somebody.

Zack Johnson: 33:21

So your PI didn’t advise you not to go to Iran? Yes, but I know at least last year you were in the UK, is that right? Yes, what were you doing in the I was more for family.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 33:33

Okay got it. I was at a conference in Switzerland, a conference in Portugal, traveled to see friends colleagues, stopped by Turkey, spent some time in Egypt.

Zack Johnson: 33:55

And was your travel fueled by your studies or motivated by your studies?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 34:01

A lot of my travel has been either to scientific meetings when I was more active in research, or to see my friends Got it. I’m still waiting on my wedding invite from India. One promise when somebody actually gets engaged.

Zack Johnson: 34:18

So you are selfishly motivated and shit. And then just to wrap things up here, graham, do you have any questions that I missed? Is there anything, any other big topics that you might want to talk about with the audience?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 34:34

Yep, yeah, I mean I would say I touched briefly on careers in science. I mean there is nursing, there’s non-health related fields and there’s also public health, there’s hospital administration, there’s sort of medical administration, the business end of medicine, the intersection of biology, patent law. So even on the satellite, a number of our graduates are working or worked as lab techs for long or short term, just with a basic bachelor’s degree in biology. So you can do that. If you want to hang out in Boston, you can probably do that the rest of your life. Techs have the best data.

Zack Johnson: 35:15

So maybe I can drill into another comment now that it just resurfaced. Some Christian communities do have a distrust for the medical community and I’ll just say scientific literature and I hear it in politics right now resurfacing every once in a while how do you navigate, how to interact with the distrust for the medical community in science Especially? I’ll get into, like the Christian, the Christian pockets that you tend to find that. Do you have any thoughts on that that you’re willing to share?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 35:51

It makes no sense to me, because God created the world, god created order. Science is a manifestation of the characteristics of God. I’m not sure. I’m not sure that’s a whole philosophical discussion. As far as it started, we actually had a student who enrolled here as a pre-med student just because of that issue, to sort of address that question. So I think it’s lack of education. We’re not just. These words have definitions and I would say, not knowing what certain terminologies mean, here’s a great one. One of my friends from my church in Baltimore was a nuclear medicine technologist. So just the idea of a nuclear medicine technologist.

Zack Johnson: 36:55

You use a lot of big words. So we’re Graham and I are learning.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 36:59

He ran an MRI machine Like what’s the big deal? Or actually I was. When I was at Hopkins I ran to Philly to do some work with a collaborator at Fox Chase and I actually had nucleosomes and we got done a little bit early and I was with my grad student that I was training and she was from Austria and I’m like we’re done early, before our training, let’s go see the Liberty Bell. And so we’re carrying this ice bucket with this little teeny-tiny test tube of nucleosomes and all of a sudden there’s a metal detector and security. I’m like what do I tell them is in there? If I say nucleosomes, they’re going to freak out that it’s radioactive. And it’s just nucleosomes, it’s just proteins and I forget. I might have just said protein. I forget what I said. But there’s a lot. A lack of education leads to a lot of mistrust of names. Just in biochemistry class on Monday we were talking about I actually failed to mention this to the class, but we’re talking about niacin, nicotinamide and how it was basically renamed to keep it away. So people want to associate it with nicotine.

Zack Johnson: 38:22

Right, what is, what is?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 38:25

Vitamin B5.

Zack Johnson: 38:26

Okay, got it. Did you know that? No, I’m just thinking. Sure, I’m not the only one in the room.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 38:33

So yeah, just renaming to make it palatable that if somebody is reading their list of ingredients in their bread they’re not freaking out that they’re ingesting cigarettes.

Zack Johnson: 38:47

So maybe I’ll just get, because this is such an interesting conversation. Do you think that science is? There are elements of science that have political motivations. I know that that’s sort of a new trend that I’m seeing that people think that. Yeah, it came out during the COVID era. Some of the COVID era talks about hey, the government is trying to manipulate science for some.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 39:19

What data do you have to support that hypothesis?

Zack Johnson: 39:22

Do I have?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 39:23

Yeah, for what data is being presented to support that hypothesis?

Zack Johnson: 39:27

That the government is yes, that hypothesis.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 39:30

Usually there’s some preliminary data that leads to be associated with it.

Zack Johnson: 39:33

Well, I’m just trying to represent the audience I know here, so obviously you need to have data to have it explained yeah, there’s also.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 39:42

I mean there’s how you present the data. People do do fraudulent scientific work. I’m not saying that. I’m not saying that fraud doesn’t happen. I’m not saying that error doesn’t happen, right, but releasing info into the public domain. There are evil people in every field, but the vast majority of scientists I’ve worked with are actually very well-natured people. I mean, I’ve had good experiences, but especially in research. Yes, you do need to survive. There’s NIH policies that may push for publications, but I’ve worked with a lot of just golden-hearted people and research and the scientific community. You can always, if you have questions about somebody’s data, you can Try to replicate it.

Zack Johnson: 40:46

So and then, just for this is a hard question but for your average person who might not pursue a PhD, what is one way to sort of take a step towards being able to educate yourself, towards understanding scientific literature? And I know that’s a hard question, but if one of the problems is lack of education and how, what’s one way to sort of bring yourself to understand the other perspective better?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 41:20

Get a biology textbook and read it.

Zack Johnson: 41:22

There you go.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 41:23

Or you could come to Sattler.

Zack Johnson: 41:24

That’s a great change to you. I mean, I’m asking you At least at Sattler.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 41:28

I mean, one of the advantages of Sattler is we make all students take freshman biology just so they have a basic, have at least some of the basic vocabulary.

Zack Johnson: 41:38

And we’ve worked. We’ve had conversations about even being able to consume literature about studies and control trial random, randomized controlled trials and understanding the really I would say phenomenal things we can learn through controlled trials and take statistics to is something that I would say to do. Any other comment in that general sphere of thought about trust, that sort of science is an the enemy. Right now it might be a false enemy.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 42:15

Scientists are humans. They make mistakes, but if they’re releasing information, I would like to believe that most scientists are releasing information that is to the best of their current knowledge, right.

Zack Johnson: 42:28

Good Any other. Sorry, I took it.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 42:32

No, it was actually a good. That was a good topic to cover.

Zack Johnson: 42:35

Any other areas that you feel like you really need to hit on, or any other last words for the audience At all.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 42:43

So you’re going to ask me what to name this flycast.

Zack Johnson: 42:47

I could. I think I’m actually trying to yelating a name. Oh what if you have recommendations?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 42:53

My husband recommended proffered golden apples Wait what. What was it? It was like golden apples. Wisdom is like golden apples.

Zack Johnson: 43:03


Dr. Beth Bennett: 43:04

Proffered. Proffered Offered.

Zack Johnson: 43:07

Golden apples, what?

Dr. Beth Bennett: 43:09

do you think, Graham, it might be above? Maybe it’s above, maybe it’s too hard to grasp.

Zack Johnson: 43:15

No, but yeah, I really want to thank you for being here today and come and study biology at Sattler. It’s a phenomenal. I think it’s a phenomenal program.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 43:26

And I think we have some of the best placement of graduates too. I mean, I don’t know the stats and I’m biased.

Zack Johnson: 43:32

So we have people in medical in Texas, we have people in medical in Pennsylvania, we have a student PA school in Pennsylvania, and then we have a student interviewing everywhere that I know, or an alumni or even a reviewer.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 43:45

Yes, and a lot of our graduates, if they have taken a gap year, have gotten good jobs we have with Sattler’s capstone requirements. Some of them have stayed on working as texts in the lab here in Boston where they did their capstone.

Zack Johnson: 44:02

Got it.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 44:03

So yeah, that’s one of the benefits of Sattler’s. We push students to get research internships, but then if they do get one, it does help them.

Zack Johnson: 44:14

Yeah, I know we have current students with internships at Dana-Farber, which what is for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 44:21

It’s one of the top cancer institutes, probably in the US.

Zack Johnson: 44:26

We got another student who’s just got an internship at MGH recently and so, yeah, it’s a great.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 44:33

A bunch more that hopefully by summer we’ll have something landed.

Zack Johnson: 44:36

And it’s a great door opener. I think from the outside Boston’s really intrigued by Sattler’s students I love. It seems like we don’t quite belong here. You know what I mean by that.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 44:48

View some stories have filtered back to you.

Zack Johnson: 44:50

Yeah, people are like what are you doing here in Boston? And I often am really excited to see our students make connections into these really well-run institutions. And, yeah, thanks for all your.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 45:02

You have great students.

Zack Johnson: 45:04

Yeah, so keep that in mind. Thanks for all your work developing the students. And Beth lives in Pennsylvania, so you come back and forth, so thanks for all the travel you do. And if this is the question, can people follow you anywhere? Follow me, I don’t want to follow. Don’t try to find. Don’t try to find. That’s online. You can find a bio on our website which we need to update.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 45:30

You can email me if you need.

Zack Johnson: 45:32

It All right, I should, you can email you need information or have any other questions. Well, that wraps it up today. Any announcements? I’ll just announce we launched Intrustment on Monday, so every accepted students gets a fully funded tuition offer Really big deal. It’s called Intrustment, so that’swe have limited spots available for the season. I’m not going to mention how many, but we aren’t fully yet. So if you’re interested in applying, apply at satireduapply and then the bio concentrations can be found under, I think, academics on our website, in case you want.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 46:09

That sounds right.

Zack Johnson: 46:10

In case you want to, or you can email me, or email Email works great, all right, thank you, dr Bennett, or thanks Beth.

Dr. Beth Bennett: 46:16

Thank you, Zach.

Zack Johnson: 46:18

Thank you.

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