[Illinois] weSTEM 2013: Managing your Goals in the Face of Uncertainty

By Nina Tandon

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In a recent interview for the Lavin Daily, "You Don't Have To Be One Thing: Nina Tandon On Pursuing Many Interests," Nina describes the value in pursuing a variety of interests even when working towards an advanced degree in a specified, technical area. "Don't worry about being that one thing," she says. Nina, who herself has experience in consulting, academia, and industry and other interests such as running marathons and serving as a certified yoga instructor, advocates keeping a variety of doors open throughout your career. She is a living contradiction to the common misconception that advanced degrees and technical research lead to more limited career opportunities. Nina will share how keeping balance can enhance your performance in each individual area. Managing the uncertainty of your career path can be daunting at times, and this can make the process to a Ph.D. even more challenging. Nina will share her story of successfully navigating her very dynamic career. Her energetic perspective on seeking out new opportunities while successfully reaching your goals is contagious. Her unique perspective will fiercely inspire you to break down the barriers holding the stigma for pursuing your various interests and seeking out diverse opportunities throughout your career.


Dr. Nina Tandon is a current TED Senior Fellow, post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University's Lab for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, and adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cooper Union, teaching a "Bioelectricity" class. A native New-Yorker, she spent her early career at telecom (Avaya Labs), where she developed prototype applications for top clients and co-authored two patents. She transitioned to biomedical engineering via a Fulbright Scholarship in Italy's Università di Roma, where she worked with a sensors and microsystems group on an electronic odor detector being tested as a non-invasive lung cancer detector. She completed her M.S. in Electrical Engineering at MIT and her PhD in Biomedical Engineering under Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic at Columbia University, researching cardiac tissue engineering. She received Presidential Fellowships at both MIT and Columbia University. After consulting for pharmaceutical clients at McKinsey from 2008-2010, she earned an Executive MBA at Columbia University while resuming her research on electrical stimulation for broader tissue engineering applications. She has presented her work at TED, Singularity University, and Google, in addition to many prestigious academic conferences around the world. In 2012 she was named one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company. In her spare time, she practices yoga, running (she ran five marathons in 2012), metalsmithing, playing with puppies, baking and exploring.


Source for information on this page: weSTEM Illinois

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Nina Tandon (2013), "[Illinois] weSTEM 2013: Managing your Goals in the Face of Uncertainty," http://nanohub.org/resources/18445.

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