Birgit - the one with answers to all of your questions

Have you ever used chat on our website to talk about our products or PCR or whatever came to your mind? Have you ever asked for advice from our customer support? If you have, the chances are you were talking to Birgit. She is the little miracle behind your perfectly functioning experiment. Now you have the opportunity to get to know her a little better.

From her childhood, Birgit vividly remembers driving to her grandmothers and grandfathers’ home in southern Estonia (Võru) every Friday, where she could eat 3x her weight, play with the animals, swim in the river, make snowmen, go to the sauna every evening, barbeque sausages on the open fire and much more. Because of that, she can understand, but not speak fluently, a regional language in Estonia that most Estonians do not understand at all – the Võro dialect. A funny example to give to Estonian speakers is “kun um tuu lump kun kunna ummava” in the Võro language, which is “kus on see lomp kus konnad on” in Estonian, or “where is the puddle where the frogs are” in English. 

Another great memory, that Birgit has from her childhood, is lunch naps during kindergarten, which she misses very much now. As do most of us for sure.

As a child, Birgit was very hyperactive and did a lot of running around during her extracurriculars (and also before and after that). She wanted to become Erki Nool – a decathlete. She remembers watching him compete in the Olympics and he was a real role model for her. Birgit tried hard to run as fast as he did but came a bit short. Although she did hold the fastest 60 m run time for some short time in Tartu (aged maybe 10 or so). As her teenage years came she turned her focus more onto studying (and science) and continued with dancing as her extracurricular activity. Since Birgit’s mom was a ballroom dancer, her parents put her in singing and dancing groups already in kindergarten. Dancing came extremely easy to her and it still does, singing – not so much, which does not mean that she does not use every opportunity to sing loudly and wrongly. 

When it comes to science, Brigit was born with it in her heart. To explain this – her parents often gave her scientific books as presents. You might think that every parent does this to get their child to study something by themselves, but no, she was asking for it. Between 1-4th grade, Birgit was most interested in geology. Her favorite book (besides Harry Potter) was a geology book where she learned what kind of layers are in the Earth and how the Earth's crust is moving and why. The same information was taught in school about 5 years later after she had already learned it herself. 

How did Birgit reach biology? She still has no clue. She does not remember intentionally thinking and/or saying out loud that this is her thing. That being said, her parents gave her an awesome gift for her 12th birthday – a microscope. So she spent quite some time looking at the split ends of her hair, the dirt, and tree leaves under the microscope. Although she does not remember asking for the microscope or even saying anything that might make anyone think that biology is her thing, somehow her parents figured it out.

While always interested in science, being who she is now was definitely not her plan from the start. As mentioned previously, Birgit started off by wanting to become a professional athlete. During her teenage years, she aimed all her studies toward becoming a veterinary doctor, but that dream was shattered by being a job shadow for an actual vet before going to the university. To explain – she would love to be a vet and just go around fixing furry and feathery creatures if some sponsor funded her and she had to do zero talking to the owners of the animals. She hated seeing how badly people treat their animals, how often you would have to explain why your dog needs a specific diet or vaccinations or neutering, and how often people just euthanize their family members because it is convenient for them in some way. It was just too much for her faint little heart and she chose the next best thing on her list – genetic engineering. And somehow she has been stuck in this field for 11 years now. How she got to genetic engineering is also a strange path. Her high school biology teacher (the best teacher ever – Anne Laius, PhD) recommended she make a presentation to the class about PCR. For an 11th-grade student, it was extremely difficult and filled with basically foreign language (all the terms used to explain PCR), but she managed. The principle of PCR was so very interesting to her that she wanted to know more. 

Eventually, Birgit made it to Solis BioDyne, where her job is to support our customers and make difficult things sound simple. This suits her very well since helping others has always been her thing. She has worked in customer service for about 15 years - lately full-time, before that part-time after school or during summer vacation. During her university years, she was one of the first members of the Bioscience Students’ Association, where she was in the management for 2 years as a group leader of support students – students who helped other younger students with anything (could be school-related, such as getting course materials or picking the right laboratory where to execute the thesis or personal or social).

Since making things sound simple is her specialty this is how she would explain her work at Solis BioDyne to her grandmother: “You know how all products have instructions for use on them? For example, a floor cleaner. Well, sometimes the instructions do not work for the stain you are trying to get off the floor. So, you contact the manufacturer. I am the one answering and trying to figure out what kind of stain the customer has, which one of our products are they using, whether they have used any other product along with our floor cleaner, what kind of result are they looking for, etc. Sometimes I see that the floor cleaner they use is not the best for their marble floor, so I recommend another product that works better for them and give them instructions on how long to incubate the product on the floor before wiping it off to get the results they desire. From these questions by different clients, I get statistics - for example, a lot of them are interested in a very fast-acting floor cleaner for natural marble floors that leaves the floor as shiny as possible – but we do not have this kind of product at the moment. So, I forward these statistics to our research and development department who sees what can be done, should we maybe release a product like this also.”

Birgit and Iron at
Solis BioDyne's Family Day.

When Birgit started working in Solis BioDyne her office was on the same floor as the laboratory. A few weeks later she had already mentioned to many co-workers that she has a dog - a golden retriever named Iron (Aiku to friends and family). After a bit of time, her office got moved to another floor where only offices can be found. Shortly after getting her computer set up in the new office a co-worker hopped in and asked her when is she going to bring the dog to the office now that her office is not near the laboratory where no animals were allowed. She promised that she will maybe try one day soon. Since that day Wednesdays have been known as emotional support dog days in Solis BioDyne. The furry therapist is there to clear the dark clouds over every employee’s head.

As a fun fact, Birgit also happens to have a tattoo of Solis BioDyne’s representative bird – the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and she has a car that is in Solis BioDyne’s color (light vibrant blue). Both were acquired independently before she joined Solis BioDyne – so her guess is that someone from the marketing team has been stalking her for about 10 years and liked what they saw. 

There are a lot of things Birgit likes about Solis BioDyne. Mainly the happy smiling faces of all the employees. She thinks the best people work here. Others at the company quite agree with her description. They say Birgit always has a smile on her face. She is an exceptional team player and a person. She is our Power Plant! She likes to keep things in order and is fierce when needed. If you need someone to back you up in the dark woods, then she's the one to rely on. She is a very calm person, but ready to fight when needed. Birgit is an animal lover who fills the room with joy. She is a bright, vibrant, and happy colleague who engages in exciting hobbies in her spare time. 

When it comes to teamwork, Birgit thinks her team is a phenomenon. They are basically a bunch of clones all thinking the same. She has never had to explain anything too much, they all understand her momentarily. They seem to all think the same, want the same and feel the same - so they really are a TEAM. The most special team experience for her was for sure the 2022 Solis BioDyne summer days on a very small island called Kihnu, where everyone could ride around the island on bikes, swim in the sea, and dance all night. 

For Birgit, being a happy motivated person comes mostly from dogs. To be more serious, what motivates her is inner peace. She does whatever she thinks could give her peace. The need to show off to her friends does not make her paint her walls very colorful and shiny. She does it because she likes it and it soothes her mind. She does not work out a lot to look a certain way, she does it because it makes her feel amazing. She does not work in Solis BioDyne because of the desperate need for money, but because she really wants our clients to try our amazing products and get the best results. 

Her biggest challenge has always been her inability to rest. Birgit very rarely just sits around. For her husband, it is difficult to even watch a TV show or a movie at home with her, because she tends to lose interest fast if it does not speak to her fully and she will start baking or cleaning in the middle of the movie. That’s why they go to the cinema, there she will not clean (even if she would like to). She is constantly on the move and has many-many projects going on all at the same time. Luckily Birgit is the type of person who always finishes what she started. 

During her free time, Birgit’s husband would say that she likes to clean. He is not entirely wrong, but she would also add eating (as Estonians say: eating is the only job that feeds), walking the dog in the pine forest near her house, gardening, and working out.

(Part of) team Solis BioDyne at the end of the 40th Tartu Forest Marathon.

For Birgit, her biggest achievement in life has been staying true to herself. Not going with the latest fashions and running where everyone else is running - just doing things her way.

In the next 9 years, Birgit would like to go skydiving. She is a little bit afraid of heights (or rather falling and smashing into something, not heights), but her inner scientist wants to know whether the actual feeling of falling is the same as in dreams (whether the brain can imagine and make you feel something that you have not experienced). 

As a piece of advice for everyone, Birgit has this to say: ”Once in a while take time to mess around. What I mean by that is to try something new, go out there, do it, and experience something new to you. You might find something that you did not know you liked, something that you are crazy good at. If you do not mess around, you do not find out. Even if you fail at whatever you are trying – it is still an experience. So go and be childish (please invite me too)!”