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Career Path: Valerie Stout

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  • Insatiable: unable to be satisfied.

Career Path for Valerie Stout

Fast Facts:

  • Number of years in school: 21
  • Favorite class / subject: Food Microbiology
  • Hardest class / subject: Genetics
  • First Job: Selling souvenirs at Six Flags
  • Dream job as a kid: Marine biologist (go diving with Jacques Cousteau)
  • One word you would use to describe your current job: Inquistive

How do you become a microbiologist?

Professor Valerie Stout reveals the path she has taken. 

Microbiology Professor Valerie Stout was always interested in biology, like animals and nature. In college, she studied wildlife biology and ecology in a broad sense. But as time went on, she became more and more fascinated by smaller organisms, with how they live and what they do. 

valerie stout"We couldn't understand all the bigger things until we figured things out at the cellular level," Stout said. So that's is how she became involved in microbiology. 

Most of her day is spent teaching, preparing to teach, working one-on-one with students conducting experiments in the lab, writing grant proposals, recording research results, and talking with other scientists to tell them about her research results and exchange information.

Stout obtained her Ph.D. in 1987 at Kansas State University. She conducted her post-doctoral research at National Institutes of Health in Maryland, and began teaching at ASU in 1991. Students interested in getting a job like Stout's should get a B.S. and a Ph.D. Post-doctoral training is also necessary if you want to be in charge of a lab (instead of being a basic technician). 

You have to get a lot of background before you can land a job. "Because it's lots of years of training, unless it's really what you want, it's not worth it." 

Stout said you should feel passionate about science, curious about how things work. She identified an "insatiable curiosity" as one of the key qualities for a scientist to have.

Valerie Stout

Valerie Stout's research is battling bacteria and the films they like to call home.

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Valerie Stout

Valerie Stout's research is battling bacteria and the films they like to call home.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.