Nothin’ But Net(work)
In today’s world, everything is connected, and no one knows this better than middler Emily Batt.
The physics major and writing minor has immersed herself in the emerging field of network science, which looks at how everything—from the Internet to diseases to human mobility—is connected. Currently she is doing part-time student research for the University’s ADVANCE program, a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that is looking at how faculty can use their professional networks to strengthen career opportunities.
Batt values the interdisciplinary combination of physics and sociology. And she finds the work particularly rewarding, since women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields are not published nor granted tenure as often as their male counterparts. “It’s important to me because as a woman in science, I would like to know what other women are facing, so hopefully we can overcome these obstacles,” she says.
Her next co-op will be at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a prestigious Steamboat Scholar, and she believes it was her network science background that cinched the position for her. (Northeastern happens to be the world leader in the field.)
“One of the emerging fields in cancer research is cellular networks and systems,” she says, “so by having some of that knowledge already, I may be able to apply physics and network science to oncology.”
Batt spent her first co-op collecting wave-turbulence data aboard an NSF ship in the Massachusetts Bay. Her long-term goal: More physics research, followed by grad school and a career in academia.