Julia Potocnjak-Overn



Julia attended The University of Texas Pan American and obtained a bachelors of science in Biology with a minor in Philosophy. She also attended The University of Texas at Tyler and The University of Colorado Boulder for graduate studies in Molecular Biology, Integrative Physiology and Behavioral Genetics.


Julia previously worked as a tutor and after-school STEM instructor for Innovation Academy Charter school which is a partner K-12 institution of The University of Texas at Tyler. In this space, she also provided tutoring for reading, writing and math. Julia worked as a graduate teaching assistant for virtual Anatomy and Physiology Lab, Anatomy and Physiology Recitation sections, and as a grader for a health Biostatistics course. While at The University of Colorado Boulder, she served as the Outreach and Communication lead for the Boulder chapter of Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE). Julia updated the mission statement of the organization to reflect and encourage ALL individuals to consider joining our space. She helped organize a virtual Accessibility in Science symposium in concert with campus ADA services to provide ASL services, closed captioning. Topics ranged from data visualization for low vision individuals, making space for individuals with disabilities in scientific research, imposter syndrome, making space for LGBTQIA+ scientists at all career levels. Julia is currently participating in Letters to a Pre-Scientist which is an opportunity for those in STEM spaces to communicate via snail mail with middle and high school students. This opportunity provides students a real-time experience to learn more about individuals in STEM and their experiences.

Julia also has experience in scientific research. She has research experience in Medical Entomology Lab as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scholar, investigating insect feeding behaviors. She also has worked in a Molecular Biology Lab, investigating transmission of bacterial pathogens between insects and species of plants. she conducted DNA analysis and sequencing, field work and collaboration with Texas Plant Disease Laboratory and Texas A&M Kingsville. Julia has more experience in Molecular Neurogenetics Lab, responsible for propagation, maintenance of cell lines. She was responsible for protein extraction, RNA extraction and neuronal differentiation of cells. Completed transcriptomic analysis on previous research data relating to maternal nicotine consumption across multiple generations using rodent model. Julia's research conducted at The University of Texas at Tyler has been published in Current Microbiology (2014). Her previous research publication also currently pending review.

Fun Facts and Hobbies

  • Prior to starting research as an undergraduate, Julia worked as a personal fitness trainer and group fitness instructor
  • She is originally from Canada and lived WAY up north in a small rural mining community
  • She has lived in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, West Texas, rural Arizona, Southwest Florida, Georgia and South Texas before coming to Colorado in 2017