Alumna Highlight: Sarah Stubbs
It is always amazing to see the places and spaces our alumnae end up after their time in Phi Lamb. We would like to introduce you to Texas A&M Alumna, Dr. Sarah (Hulsey) Stubbs. Sarah currently serves a post-doctoral fellow in microbiology and immunobiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. During her time in Phi Lamb, Sarah served as secretary and as a prayer group leader. We had the opportunity to catch up with Sarah to hear about her interesting career, cross-country move, and the way that her time in Phi Lamb impacts her life today.
What have you been up to since graduation? Tell us about your family.
After graduating I moved to Dallas to attend graduate school at UT Southwestern Medical Center and received a PhD in Molecular Microbiology. During that time I got married to Carter Stubbs, also an Aggie! While in Dallas we were members of the Village Church. We lived in Dallas until I finished grad school and then we moved to Boston, MA. In Boston I am a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School where my research focuses on virus-host interactions. Our daughter, Ainsley, was born in July of 2016 and we have a son on the way, who is set to arrive in June! We are members at City on a Hill Church where we have served as Community Group leaders for the last 5 years and lead the First Impressions (Welcome) ministry.
Tell us about your job. How did you get started in this work?
Since I was a little kid I wanted to be a scientist, haha. When I was small I thought I wanted to be an astronaut or even a chemist, but when I was in high school I took AP Biology and it made me fall in love with Biology! When I was applying for college I saw that there was a major called Molecular and Cell Biology, and that really excited me because what I was interested in were the molecular details of the cell and how it functions. I quickly realized that most science majors end up pursuing a post-undergraduate degree, but I wasn't totally sure what all that entailed, or what kind of degree I would need to continue doing the kind of work that I wanted to do. I started working in Susan Payne's research lab my junior year of college, and she really helped form what I wanted to do after college. Dr. Payne is a professor at the A&M Vet School and she studies a horse virus called EIAV, which is interesting because it is a very serious disease for horses, and therefore the livestock industry, but also because it is a useful model virus for studying other viruses that are similar to it. I LOVED working in her lab, she was gracious enough to literally be at the bench next to me and teach me how to do very simple techniques in the lab, and she set me up with a great post-doc named Lina, who was very patient to teach me how to do everything. I loved the freedom of science- coming up with a question, designing experiments to test that question, the idea that you are researching something that no one else has studied before. Dr. Payne encouraged me to apply for PhD programs and so with her encouragement I ended up at UT Southwestern. During my time there I conducted my thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Nicholas Conrad, and my work focused on how a virus called KSHV can utilized cellular proteins to infect cells. After graduate school, I moved to Boston to do a postdoctoral fellowship, and that is where I am today! I work in a research lab and my work is focused on how viruses and cells interact.
How has your experience in Phi Lamb impacted who you are today?
Phi Lamb gave me such an opportunity to develop my faith as an adult and understand what it means to live in community with other believers. As a high school student with things like youth groups, which are wonderful and important, community is built into the fabric of youth groups- weekly gatherings, events, Sunday school together, etc. But once you get to college, finding a community of believers, walking through life together, is all on you. College is fun, but it can also be hard, and having a community of believers around you, both through your local church, and other organizations like Phi Lamb is so life giving. Phi Lamb helped me understand how important it is to build community into the rhythms of your life, to truly walk through life with other believers through ups and downs. Never has that been more true since we moved to Boston. Living in a city that is almost 2,000 miles from all things familiar to us, our friends, family, our church, can be really lonely and isolating. But having experienced deep community within Phi Lamb and then after college through our Home Groups in Dallas, we had such a deep seated desire to build the same thing into our life in Boston. It can be easy to pull away and not really want to dig in when you move to a new place, because you don't want to be disappointed if something doesn't work out the way you envision it. But God has been so gracious to us and given our family an incredible community through our church. In fact, we live in a small apartment building with multiple other people and families from our church. Since none of us have family nearby, we serve as each other's family while we are here- we raise our kids together, celebrate holidays together, go to church together, literally everything!
Share one of your favorite Phi Lamb memories.
I honestly have so many fond memories of Phi Lamb! Probably some of my favorite though are the year that I was secretary, the officers had such a fun time together and I remember our weekly officers meetings being filled with both business, but also a lot of fun! We laughed a LOT together! We also really enjoyed pranking the BYX officers that year! ;) Although several of the girls were a couple of years older than me, we kept in touch after college and all ended up in Dallas in some of the same friend groups or in the same church Home Group, so it was really fun to reconnect with them after college. Getting to serve as one of the officers was a really fun and unique privilege. It gave me such an appreciation for the inter-workings of Phi Lamb and how much it takes to keep the organization running from a logistical standpoint. Leading an organization of 200+ women is no easy task, but it was made so much easier by an awesome president and VP who led Phi Lamb and the officer body really well. It also allowed me to get to know a lot of other girls in Phi Lamb, girls whose paths I wouldn't have crossed because we were different majors, or different years in college. That might have been my most favorite part of all, its such a wonderful demonstration of the body of Christ- totally different people, with different interests, different backgrounds, different ideas, all coming together to fellowship with one another and serve one another!