Marina (Nina) Vance’s Background

3:30 to 9:30 Nina tells the story, beginning with her growing up in Brazil, interested in nature and science from childhood. She wanted to be at the forefront of creating things and discovering things, and she kept returning to air quality, but she took a non-straightforward course to her current role as Assistant Professor, including environmental consulting and an alt-academic center leader.

Going all-in to pursue a tenure track professorship

10:15 Nina talks about how she made the decision finally to pursue a tenure track faculty career, getting past imposter syndrome and believing that a work-life balance can be possible while still maintaining other areas of her life. “People say that it’s impossible, but maybe there are different flavors there.”

Mentoring and creating group culture

13:15 Nina talks about her approach to mentoring and creating a group culture. This aspect of her role is one that she puts a significant amount of her energy toward, figuring out what works for her group in terms of how frequently to meet, and her approach to adding fun.

How she weaves in her creativity to work

16:50 Nina talks about how she brings her creativity to her job, and she says “I think it helps in ways that are not going to get me tenure”. She’s branched into YouTube videos in science communication and talks about the duty researchers have to share the outputs and findings of their research.

Christine mentions during this exchange SciToons, a program created at Brown University by Dr. Oludurotimi Adetunji. “The SciToons model is a new approach for communicating scientific research and concepts to broad audience via storytelling, animation, high-quality multimedia and art to conceptualize and communicate science.”

What she’s working on right now

22:00 Nina talks about her Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant to study indoor air quality, including a 6 week trip to a 1200 square foot home in Austin used as a research facility for studying of indoor air. Her description includes the excitement of working at the intersection of multiple fields of expertise, all needed to address wicked problems.

24:30 Nina talks specifically about the large number of collaborators and her approaches specifically to networking and expanding her collaboration network. She specifically talks about local networking and intentionally reaching out to people in her area within and nearby her university.

Next hill to climb

28:00 Nina talks about what she wants to tackle next – prolific and efficient writing. Matt mentions his go-to favorite Focus @ Will Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. It helps us to keep helping you. .

 Light speed round

 30:50 – Start.

31:00 – Mistake that she learned from.

31:30 – Biggest professional fear.

33:00 – Something she was anxious about but that has gone just fine and gotten better (Includes a great mantra for perfectionists everywhere: Accept that it’s not going to be perfect, because you just have too much going on, and then move forward)

34:19 – What she is most excited about in her research now.


Nina Vance Lab at University of Colorado

SciToons YouTube

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation – Chemistry of Indoor Environments

Focus @ Will Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. It helps us to keep helping you.

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