#NWHLXWISS: BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER AND DEFENDER MALLORY SOULIOTIS
By Mike Murphy
#NWHLxWISS is a series in partnership with accounting firm WISS that highlights the careers, interests and stories of women in the NWHL as well as women working at WISS.
Boston Pride defender Mallory Souliotis is finding success on and off the ice since earning her Bachelor of Applied Science in Biomedical and Medical Engineering at Yale University.
At Yale, Souliotis finished her hockey career third all-time in Bulldogs program history in scoring among defenders with 70 points in 117 games. She was First Team All-Ivy in her senior season in 2017-18 and was the 8th overall pick (Boston Pride) of the 2018 NWHL Draft. This year is Souliotis’ third in the NWHL. She has been instrumental in the Pride’s historic undefeated record this season and is well on her way to doubling her production from last season.
When Souliotis isn’t patrolling the blue line on Boston’s top defensive pair, she’s hard at work in the STEM field as a bioanalytical research associate at EMD Serono or studying for her Master’s in Engineering.
NWHL: Do you remember when you first stepped onto the ice with a hockey stick? How old were you?
Mallory Souliotis: I remember some of my early days learning to skate. I would lay out my hockey equipment in the living room the night before, and I would drag my parents out of bed early in the morning to head to the rink. The first hour was learning to skate, so there were no sticks or pucks and I remember just going to the boards and back, doing a Superman dive, etc. Then, I would ask my parents to stay the next hour to do the hockey hour with all the other kids, who were all older than me. My parents always tell me how I begged them to start hockey a year early and that I gave my dad the puppy dog eyes when I asked him to coach me.
NWHL: Has science always been a passion of yours?
MS: Definitely. I loved dissecting the owl pellets in 3rd grade and making that goopy stuff with cornstarch in elementary school. As I got older, I really loved science and was really interested in how the body worked. Even now I am continuously amazed by how much our bodies can do and how we can utilize science to improve our lives.
NWHL: Did you know you wanted to work in medical and biomedical engineering before attending Yale?
MS: Yes. The biomedical engineering program at Yale was pretty rigorous, so you had to start the required classes right away in freshman year or you would fall behind. I knew it was the perfect major for me because of its balance between science (particularly with the body) and math. I knew with biomedical engineering I would be able to impact and improve the lives of others right away.
NWHL: Was there something special about Yale that made it a great fit for you?
MS: The team and the coaching staff were extremely welcoming and were excited to have me on campus. The team was like a family and the culture there was something I really wanted to be a part of; the staff believed I could have an immediate impact on the team as well. The opportunity to play Division-1 hockey AND get one of the best educations in the world was really a no-brainer, and I was grateful my family was close by to continue to support me on and off the ice.
NWHL: What does a day of work look like for you as a Biomedical Research Associate at EMD Serono?
MS: There isn't really a typical schedule or day honestly, because anything can happen. For the most part, I spend 80 percent of my time in the lab running a variety of experiments, and the rest of the time I'll spend analyzing my data or researching the project I'm working on. My lab group is pretty tight-knit, and we lean on each other for advice or help when we are stuck on a project or just overwhelmed. Our experiments require a lot of planning (and math) in order to run the experiment on 96-well plates. We heavily rely on pippeting in order to ensure accuracy, so I spend a lot of time pipetting and preparing samples and other reagents to use in the experiment. There's a lot of documentation involved, from equipment to reagents, everything has to be written down, it’s a lot of detail-oriented work.
NWHL: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
MS: Even on the worst of days, I remind myself that my work is going to help others, it may not be in a few months or a year, but eventually my work will help patients suffering from cancer, lupus, osteoarthritis, etc. It's really rewarding to think that the work I am doing now in the lab, could change someone's life down the road. It's pretty cool.
NWHL: What words of encouragement do you have to young people, especially girls and young women, who are interested in pursuing a career in STEM?
MS: If it were easy, anyone would do it. It's not easy being a woman in STEM, we are outnumbered but that's why we need schools and communities to support women in STEM and make it more commonplace. However, those of us women in STEM never hesitate to help each other out, so I would say to continue to study hard and really immerse yourself in whatever interests you.
NWHL: How do you balance your career as a professional hockey career and your career in biomedical research?
MS: I am not sure I have gotten everything totally balanced, it's more of tornado of chaos right now, but I kinda like it. I focus on work during the day so that I can focus on school and hockey afterwards. Once I leave work, I really try to leave work there, unless I have work to finish at home. Between work and practice I typically will watch my class, I started my Master's Degree in Bioengineering through an online program, so I'll watch the class or do the homework or reading. I'll fit in some dinner before Kaleigh and I head out to practice. If we don't have practice, I'll do a workout at the gym. I find my schedule to be very packed and stressful at times, but I am not sure what I would do if I had any more free time.
NWHL: When you're not wearing ice skates or a lab coat, what do you do to relax?
MS: Oh man, I don't have that much time to relax, but when I do, I like to cook and bake, watch Floribama Shore or Grey's Anatomy, and I really enjoy reading. Since finishing high school and college, I actually found a love for reading. I'm a big fan of non-fiction and autobiographies, and I love reading to pass time, especially in the summer by the pool.
Photo Credit: Michelle Jay