For many, teaching is all about imparting knowledge and bridging the gap between student aspirations and future outcomes. However, one Arizona State University professor goes well beyond the humdrum and strives to inspire passion and love in the lives of all she interacts with. She is a mentor, scientist, mother, professor and one strong badass woman all rolled in one package- and the ASU community simply can’t get enough!
Dr. Melissa Wilson Sayres has been branded by many as the “queen of student involvement in science.” As an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences and The Center for Evolution and Medicine in The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, she has managed to inspire the next generation of scientists, conduct groundbreaking research and continues to advocate for equal opportunities and inclusion in her lab daily.
Through the “BadAss women of ASU” campaign, launched by the Womyn’s Coalition in collaboration with other student groups, students, faculty and staff at Arizona State University got a chance to recognize and appreciate Dr Sayres for all her efforts, achievements and leadership.
Biology graduate student, George Brusch remarked that he has had the pleasure to watch Dr Melissa Sayres engage the public on the merits of science whilst inspiring countless students effortlessly. “She is, hands down, the most deserving person I know for the Badass Women of ASU award,” Brusch said.
As devoted to science as she is, Dr Sayres still sets aside time to engage in outreach and mentorship of students. In her free time, she can be found on twitter fighting for science literacy and equal rights for minorities. Moreover, she is the creator of "mathbionerd," a blog in which she writes influential articles that shape the culture of academia. Associate Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Katie Hinde noted that “Her piece "You are worthy" is the most important thing I have read in a year.”
Graduate student and staff member at the Center for Evolution and Medicine, Jaclyn Smith said Dr Sayres makes science so cool. “Her booth at night of open door had lines of students waiting to learn about DNA extraction - and she made it fun!”
Dr Sayres has the kind of personality and drive that cannot be ignored. She has set a high bar not only for herself but all other women in science. She is strong, assertive, understanding and passionate- and that is more than enough to make one formidable badass woman!
“I am always curious to know about what’s going on in the world because life is all about what we don’t know, what we don’t know about the human genome, what we don't know about those things… I want to learn about all those things,” Dr Sayres said.