Janell Cain ’16 always knew she wanted to be a scientist. It just took a few decades for that dream to come true.

Cain’s grandparents had instilled in her the importance of education, and she attended a reputable Iowa private school through eighth grade. But Cain says her stubborn independence and desire to be an “emancipated adult” by high school led her down a different path. She became a mother while still a teenager, and found a job tending bar at night so she could be with her child during the day. “Eventually, I was a bartender with three children and an expiring marriage,” she says. “I tried over and over again to return to school; it just wasn’t feasible.”