Moriah Beck, PhD

Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department at Wichita State University
AWIS Member since 2003

“In this time of social distancing, ‘together’ is what we are lacking. Together is a union of people, thoughts, parts which create something new, even if temporary.”

Headshot of Moriah Beck, who has short light hair and is wearing a red and black top. There's a black background.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned from your journey so far?

Don’t lose sight of the forest through the trees. Sometimes this means getting back into the lab so that you don’t lose touch with work at the bench. I learned that you don’t want to get so busy with other commitments that you don’t have time to do what you love with those that you lead.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement?

Mentoring over 60 students (graduate and undergraduate) in my research lab over the course of 10 years.

What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why? What obstacles will you overcome?

Inclusive excellence that imparts all students with an appreciation of how science impacts their lives and allows them to see themselves as contributing to this pursuit. Balancing teaching, research, and service loads while also nurturing and trusting students to help carry the load.

Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.

As a graduate student I had the opportunity to briefly work with collaborators at the Pasteur Institute. Not only was this my first time living alone in a foreign country, but it provided me with novel tools to complete my dissertation.

How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

AWIS was the first place that I really took on a leadership position. I was a founding member of the St. Louis chapter as a grad student and was president when St. Louis hosted the national AAAS and AWIS mentoring events. AWIS gave me a sense of empowerment and a much larger network of support.

What is your favorite word?


How do you define it?

In this time of social distancing, together is what we are lacking. Together is a union of people, thoughts, parts which create something new, even if temporary.

How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

Science brings together so many people from around the world to unite on a common goal to learn more about the world around us. We also rely on gathering the thoughts and previous experiences of scientists who came before us to yield new insight that we couldn’t have without being together.

How does AWIS impact your career journey?

AWIS has provided me with a support network of women, but has also continued to illustrate all of the strides women have made and specific examples for how to do that.

What are you currently reading or listening to?

As part of an ADVANCE Catalyst grant, I am reading and discussing An Inclusive Academy: Achieving Diversity and Excellence by Abigail J. Stewart and Virginia Valian with STEM chairs and associate deans. I just finished reading Becoming by Michelle Obama as part of a Science Sisters bookclub I started this past year.

What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?

It doesn’t hurt to ask. You may be asking for permission to do something unexpected or outside the “rules” set forth. It might be a question no one else has thought to ask. It doesn’t hurt to just ask.

Moriah Beck, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department at Wichita State University. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis where she used NMR to solve the structure of a novel virulence factor. As a postdoctoral fellow at the UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Beck continued to use NMR to study protein structure and function. Her current research is aimed at understanding regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in processes that include cancer and cardiomyopathy.