Listen: Biologist Amy Vollmer on Her Life and Work
People Behind the Science: "Dr. Amy Vollmer: Science on Stress in Single-Celled Organisms"
Among various topics, she discusses the balance she found with teaching and researching at the College, the importance of mentors, and her interest in increasing science literacy. She says that it was this interest that led to her creation of the popular Second Tuesday Science Cafes, sponsored by the Aydelotte Foundation. When asked for a reading recommendation, Vollmer suggests Claude M. Steele's Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, which is part of the reading for the Summer Scholars Program.
In contrast to the image of science as a solitary pursuit, Vollmer emphasizes the collaborative nature of the field. She says the laboratory is like any other work environment and advises, "If you don't like people, don't go into science because science is all about people."
She concludes her interview with the instruction to "try to embrace what you do everyday with a sense of wonder and a sense of passion."
Vollmer is Professor and Department Chair of Biology at Swarthmore College. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Rice University and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Afterward, she conducted postdoctoral research in Immunology at Stanford University and served on the faculty at Mills College before joining the faculty at Swarthmore.