Wednesday's Women in STEM: Anne Wojcicki
For this week’s Wednesday’s Women in STEM Series, we spotlight a woman who shows girls that creativity and steadfast determination can lead to innovation and profits. Anne Wojcicki was born on July 28th, 1973 and grew up in San Mateo County, California. Wojcicki’s mother was an educator, and her father was a physics professor at Stanford University. She is the youngest of three sisters, and her two older siblings are also notable figures. In fact, you might recognize her oldest sister, Susan Wojcicki, who is now the CEO of YouTube and a former executive from Google. Anne grew up in a very intellectually curious family. She was always trying new sports and exploring new subjects in school. She knew she loved science, but she could never articulate exactly what she wanted to do.
After high school, Anne Wojcicki pursued a biology degree at Yale University. She also conducted molecular biology research at the National Institute of Health and went on to become an alumnus of the University of California San Diego. While pursuing these endeavors, Wojcicki still made time to be an editor for her school newspaper and earned scholarships for her writing. If there's one thing you can learn from her, it's that you can accomplish anything with a little determination. Instead of going into medicine after she graduated, Wojcicki worked as a healthcare consultant and investment analyst for healthcare related biotechnology companies.
In 2000, Wojcicki appeared to be enthralled by the culture of the financial markets on Wall Street and also had a major concern for health care. After seeing the progress that the Human Genome Project had made, she decided to quit her job, take the MCAT, and join medical school. While on this journey, she realized that the path of research was more interesting to her than practicing medicine. Similar to when she was younger, she had multiple interests. She continually talks about how people always tried to put her in a box and tell her she had to pick one or the other. When in reality, exploring both her passions led to her being a multi-millionaire.
Along with the help of Linda Avey, another female biologist, Wojcicki co-founded 23andMe in 2006. The name arose from the fact that 23 pairs of human chromosomes were present in a single cell. Wojcicki believed that individuals should be provided with personal knowledge of disease risk because it would make consumers feel empowered and better prepared to take steps toward disease prevention. Wojcicki was determined to combine her passion for business, biology, and creative management to form her own successful company. For example, Anne Wojcicki told reporters, “I wanted to have a company that was, frankly, somewhat rebellious and was going to inspire people to try to really be healthier.” Her brand now has international recognition, and helps consumers all over the world be more conscious of their health. Anne Wojcicki proves that following one’s passion, utilizing one’s creativity, and showing determination can lead to major success.
BY: Kenedy Quandt
Sources: 1. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/18/how-the-wojcickis-parents-raised-23andme-fo under-youtube-ceo.html 2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/style/anne-wojcicki-23andme-genetics.html