Meet Olivia Mullins, Founder of Science Delivered!

olivia mullins

Olivia Mullins at one of Science Delivered!’s outreach events.

Describe your job and what you do on a day-to-day basis.

My job right now is getting Science Delivered off the ground. Science Delivered is a mobile lab with the mission of providing quality science enrichment to elementary school students in order to inspire interest in science, confidence and critical thinking skills. The past couple weeks I’ve done a big push to put the finishing touches on our programming, which is shaping up really nicely. I’m doing some in-class or in-camp field trips but by the spring I would like the majority of my time to be spent actually doing the class visits.  Of course, like everyone’s job, there are a lot of small tasks required to keep the company running, e-mails, phone calls, meeting with prospective “clients”, collaborators or volunteers. Grant writing takes up time as well.

How did you get your first job out of academia?

This is my first job outside academia, I made it myself! In some ways it’s been easier than I anticipated although there are certainly continual challenges. The very nature of the company – a mobile lab – made start up costs relatively low and I was able to cover them myself until we started getting donations and support from corporations. The process has been pretty fun overall.

Tell us about your academic background 

I majored in Psychology with a biology concentration in undergrad at Boston College, and moved onto a Neuroscience degree at University of Virginia before taking a Neuroscience post-doctoral position at UCSD. My favorite things about research were the creativity and uniqueness of it, and the moment you uncovered some great data. I did love research but there were many aspects to academia that were less than enticing – so I committed to my other love, outreach.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking for a job now?

I’ve only been in the post-doc job market so I don’t know if I’m equipped to give much advice! However, one insight I have is that the few times I’ve been on the hiring side of the table it’s been surprising how clear it is when people are genuinely enthusiastic about the position. If you can find aspects of the job that really excite you this can tilt the balance in your favor over others with a similar skill set.

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