2011 Seattle Storm Women of Inspiration

2011 Women of Inspiration: Barbara Trask

The Seattle Storm is proud to announce our 2011 Women of Inspiration presented by Moss Adams LLP. As part of our commitment to the community and to inspiring women, four exceptional leaders with remarkable stories and achievements, have been selected to be honored at the Storm game on Aug. 5, 2011. Find out more about research Barbara Trask one of this year's honorees.

Her name may not be familiar, but her dedication and research is helping people around the world who are impacted by diseases. Barbara J. Trask, Ph.D., is the first woman to lead a scientific research division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she was Senior Vice President and Director for the Human Biology Division. Trask is an internationally recognized expert in genomics and has devoted her career to studying the genetic basis for cancer and other diseases. She also played a significant role in the Human Genome Project. Trask retired in May, and leaves a legacy of excellence, having helped launch the careers of many scientists who are devoted to tackling cancer, HIV/AIDS and other major health challenges.

What was your reaction when you heard you were selected as a 2011 Woman of Inspiration by the Storm?
I was (and still am) deeply honored and humbled to have even been considered for inclusion on this list of such impressive women who have done so much for others.

What does it mean to you to be named a Woman of Inspiration?
It means that I still have much to do to live up to the name!

What motivates/drives you to be your best?
Some of my motivation comes from inside; being a scientist takes a good dose of inner curiosity, self-motivation and an analytical approach to problem-solving. I have my parents and early teachers to thank for instilling these attributes; they never questioned my ability to grasp or do anything if I worked at it (except singing)!

Iím also extremely motivated by the urgency of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centerís mission: to eliminate cancer and related diseases as causes of human suffering and death.

And, much of my motivation comes from others; you canít help but be driven to do your best when surrounded by smart and proactive colleagues who are striving to be the best at what they do.

Who has inspired or does inspire you?
Iím continually inspired by the beauty and complexity of nature; my career has been devoted to understanding a small aspect of it. Now, in retirement, I am devoted to preserving farmland and wild, natural places for future generations.

Iím inspired by my colleagues at the Hutchinson Center, who together cultivate a culture of innovation and cooperation to make the Hutchinson Center such a special place for world-class biomedical research.

And, I find inspiration in volunteers, donors and participants in clinical trials who give selflessly to help scientists at the Hutchinson Center understand diseases such as cancer, so that they can be cured and even prevented.

In your work, how have you seen role models make a positive difference in the lives of others?
Until I joined the Hutchinson Center, my role models in science were all men. I was fortunate that so many stepped in to encourage me to do more as my career developed. At the Hutchinson Center, many women now have leadership positions in science and administration, so the current generation has role models of both genders.

The best role models are those who are generous with their time and honest advice and who truly want to help others succeed at what they aspire to do. Iím proud to say that such people permeate the Hutchinson Centerís organization.

What role do you think the Storm organization and players play in making a positive difference?
The Stormís recognition of such a diverse group of women who have had impacts in many different ways is a wonderful thing to do for the community, especially for young women.

But more importantly, the Stormís giving young girls a chance to see women making a career in professional sports helps them see that all things are possible. In my day, there were very few role models for careers like science and sports. It is so much easier for girls to imagine themselves in these careers and choose these paths when they can see others whoíve gone before them.

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