Denise Riedel Lewis
Name: Denise Riedel Lewis
Denise Riedel Lewis, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Washington, DC native and grew up in Bethesda, MD. She enjoyed Girl Scouting as a Brownie, Junior, and Cadette Girl Scout. In junior high school, Dr. Lewis first thought she would like to become a veterinarian, but realized that there were other pathways in medicine and science. Dr. Lewis chose to major in medical technology as an undergraduate because this offered a stand alone career. At the same time, the medical technology major also offered a peek at different aspects of medicine and work in a variety of settings including hospitals, medical schools, and clinics. After earning her B.S. in medical technology, she worked in the microbiology laboratory at The George Washington University and met the infection control nurse/hospital epidemiologist. There, she learned about epidemiology and epidemiologists as "medical detectives" that solve medical mysteries, and work on problems to find answers, like working on a puzzle. From that point on, Dr. Lewis pursued higher education in the field of epidemiology. Since completing her education, Dr. Lewis has worked primarily in the Federal Government. Her work as an epidemiologist has given her environmental experience at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, primarily concerned with drinking water quality and arsenic concentrations, and additional experience in food safety and foodborne outbreak investigation with the United States (U.S.) Department of Agriculture. Her present position is as an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health. At NCI, she primarily works with cancer surveillance data to detect what the incidence and mortality rates are for various cancer sites and analyze other factors that are associated with cancer. At times, her work has taken her to various locations to do field work in the U.S. including water treatment plants, food processing plants, the Utah desert, and locations outside the U.S. including Canada, France, Greece, China (Beijing and Inner Mongolia), and Australia. She also is a member of several epidemiology and public health professional societies, and has discussed her research at scientific meetings. In 2011, Dr. Lewis was recognized for 20 years of Federal service.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered during your career in STEM?
What do you think is the most exciting thing about having a career in STEM?
If you could give one piece of advice to a girl who is considering doing a Silver or Gold Award based on STEM or pursuing a career in STEM, what would that be?