Sheena is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Biology at MIT. Right now, she’s working on special projects that help us understand how important proteins in our cells work. When she’s not in the lab, she enjoys photography, playing the guitar and goes to see live music shows in her local area.
Vanessa Leroy, Portrait of Sheena Vasquez, 2021. Digital Photograph. ©Poetry of Science. All rights reserved.
What is important for people to know?
That I’m human.
That I’m becoming more transparent.
Makes clear what resides in the body.
It is a question
That opens an answer. It is an order
Beneath a microscope, among
The most beautiful things
You can see: Yellow protein crystal.
How it spikes and turns,
Spirals like a curly girl’s hair.
I work in pursuit
Of evidence suggesting X.
The music of data.
The feeling of it. Being
Is 90% Failure. Is Trial.
Is Error. Is
The remarkable 10%.
My life has been
A mirror. A confrontation
With the Unknown.
A growing proof
Of what is Known.
- Danielle Legros Georges
This poem was written after two interviews with Sheena Vasquez, scientist and biology doctoral candidate, MIT.