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STEM in Action: Scott Olsen

by Katherine Ayers


Scott Olsen

Genome Sequencing Facility

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital



What is your job title? What does your job title mean?

Section Leader, Genome Sequencing Facility. I manage a laboratory that provides next generation sequencing services to St. Jude investigators. 


What does a typical day look like for you? 

There isn’t really a typical day. Many of our customers work with us on long term projects. In the course of a project I may be involved in consulting with investigators, handling lab work at the bench, running the DNA sequencers, and evaluating the data quality before sending it along for analysis.


What do you like/love about your job? What is most rewarding aspect of your current job?

The technology in this field is developing at an astonishing rate. It is both interesting and challenging to keep up with. Not all of our scientists are aware of the tools available to them now. It’s rewarding to speak with St. Jude investigators about their research projects and suggest ways this technology might accelerate their research projects.  


What suggestions do you have for new aspiring engineers or scientists?

Definitely pursue your interests, but also include as broad range of subjects as you can find time for. Math, chemistry, physics, computer science, writing, and even the fine arts can all help in ways you can’t anticipate.


What were you like as a kid—what was your favorite pastime/hobby? Favorite subject in school? Favorite book, movie, game, etc.?

I was pretty reserved and took school very seriously. A number of hobbies, from horseback riding to remote control boats came and went over time. I’ve always enjoyed reading a good book.