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Rising Stars: Meet Sharana Darcel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharana Darcel. 

Hi Sharana, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Hi there! I’m Sharana, a forensic scientist, beauty enthusiast, and content creator. I’ve wanted to be a forensic scientist since I was about 11 years old watching Forensic Files & CSI on tv. Watching them use math, science, and technology to help solve mysteries and figure out what happened seemed like the perfect job for the girl who loved reading mysteries and was always good at math & science. Fast forward a bit, and I graduated from the University of New Haven in 2012 with a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Forensic Science. A few years later, I moved to Philadelphia and earned an M.S. in Forensic Toxicology from Thomas Jefferson University, which helped me land my current job as an analyst in a forensic toxicology lab. Working in forensics is such a fulfilling career path, but I learned along the way that embracing my passions and hobbies outside of work was just as important as focusing on work. The times that I didn’t prioritize my own health or self-care are the times I felt more burnt out and ready to give up. When I got back to embracing every area of who I am as a person and not just the science-loving side, I felt more whole and ready to take on anything.

I now work full-time in forensics and part-time as a content creator/ STEM influencer. STEM jobs can be so stressful, so making sure that we have an outlet to relieve that stress and remember who we are outside of work is incredibly important. Sharing how I’m embracing my hobbies and blending them with my career helps show other women in STEM that they can do it too.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not easy at all! One of my biggest struggles was graduate school. I was 4 hours away from family in a new place, working towards something I had never done before and didn’t know anyone who had done it, and I was starting to lose myself in the stress. I also was struggling with feeling like I didn’t belong in that program, and hearing criticism about everything I was doing wrong when I was still learning what to do in the first place didn’t help at all. Getting back to prioritizing my health and knowing when to ask for help or take a break are the things that helped me get through. Having support from family and friends through that time was also essential when I couldn’t help myself. I’ve always struggled with asking for help, so that experience forced me to work through that and grow.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My work as a content creator has evolved over the last few years, and I’m really proud of where I’m at now! I started out just as a nail blogger (doing my nails is my favorite form of self-care), and now I’ve grown my brand into so much more than just manicures. I’m known for both sharing my life as a woman in STEM and sharing some of my nail and beauty favorites. I’ve heard that you should choose just one niche in order to be successful, but I don’t believe that. I like doing multiple things at once and would describe myself as multi-passionate, so why should I only show one side of myself? I’m proud of the community I’ve built on Instagram: other women in STEM who love their job but don’t want to feel like it’s taking over their lives. We are all multi-faceted and have hobbies that make us feel good about ourselves, and I celebrate that! I like hearing about what people are doing when it comes to school or work, but I love when those people share what they do for fun. Those hobbies that make you giddy and super excited are the ones I want to inspire women in STEM to embrace and share with the world. 

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
I recently started a podcast! It’s called True Crime & Toxicology and I share true crime stories that have to do with toxicology in some way and then break down the science behind the story. I also started sharing more about my journey to becoming a forensic scientist. You can find links to listen on my blog at sharanadarcel.com/podcast. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Nichole Howard

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