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Twila Mason

Adjunct Professor at Southeast Missouri State University

tamason45@hotmail.com

Biology and Chemistry

Graduated in 2008


Explain your career path

I received a BS in Biology and a BA in Chemistry from SEMO. I then went to Vanderbilt University, and I received my PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology in 2013. After Vanderbilt I worked at a biotech startup company in Nashville called Diagnovus. Then I had my daughter and decided to become a stay at home Mom for a while. In 2017 I became the Social Media Coordinator at the Bloomfield Public Library, a volunteer position. I was recently offered the position of Adjunct Professor here at SEMO, teaching upper level cell biology.

What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?

I got a BS in Biology and a BA in chemistry.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

You don’t have to sacrifice a great education to get an affordable one.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

Many of my professors had big influences on me. Dr. James Champine was my research mentor and the reason I was able to earn the Experiential Learning award. I also worked with Dr. Walt Lilly for my graduation with distinction and honors program projects. I am honored to be teaching the cell biology course previously taught by Dr. Lilly. I also worked with Dr. Bruce Hathaway in the chemistry department.

Share your best college memory.

I have many good memories of SEMO. One that I’ll never forget is performing songs at the Organic Chemistry showcase for extra credit.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

All of the experiential learning was extremely valuable, putting into action all the facts learned in classes. There’s so many opportunities for students to get hands on, real world experience.

Describe Southeast in three words.

Great affordable value

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Pushing through a tough thesis project and making it my own was a big accomplishment. I am very proud of my hard work to earn my PhD.

How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?

I mentioned it above, but the experiential learning really prepared me for graduate school and teaching. When I interviewed for graduate school, I was with students from the top universities like Yale, Harvard, Duke, and Princeton. Through conversation I found that many of the students had much less hands on experience than I did.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

Get experience wherever you can. Connect with people whenever you get a chance. Experience and connections get you opportunities. If you take those opportunities and put in the hard work, you’ll get the results you want.

What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?

I wish I would’ve known all of the different career pathways you can take.

Contact

(573) 651-2163
stem@semo.edu

College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
One University Plaza, MS 6800
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701