Rochester Magazine: Wait! Are you the same Sarah that wrote “Tenogenic Differentiation of Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells ...”
Sarah Czaplewski-Campbell: That was my Master’s degree paper. I studied Biomedical Engineering, focusing on Tissue Engineering as in body tissues like tendons at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
RM: And then you went on to work on Scott bath tissue for Kimberly Clark?
SC-C: Yes. And there was some pretty interesting stuff like actually working on product to make the towels more absorbent, that kind of thing. We did a lot with the pattern that you imprint on the bath tissue, which people probably don’t even notice.
RM: So do you still buy Scott bath tissue and paper towels exclusively?
SC-C: Actually, I haven’t had to buy paper towels or bath tissue since I left Kimberly Clark because I had a lot of extra that they gave me. I have several boxes full in my basement. But if I didn’t have them I would still buy it.
RM: Do you ever make your husband [Eric Campbell] call you Master Inventor Sarah Czaplewski-Campbell?
SC-C: He’s actually a Master Inventor as well, so we could call each other that.
RM: But you have like 99 patents, right? More than him. Do you ever lord that over him?
SC-C: I try not to.
RM: What is the Master Inventor program at IBM?
SC-C: Basically, a Master Inventor is someone that’s demonstrated the mastery of the invention process and has made sustained contributions to IBM’s intellectual property ... You have to go through an entire process and you have to have so many patents ...
RM: Best place you’ve ever traveled?
SC-C: My favorite place that I’ve been is Australia, I think. We went to the Great Barrier Reef, and we did scuba diving there for three days. It was awesome. The coral was amazing.
RM: It must have been good because you’ve been to a lot of places, including Serengeti National Park.
SC-C: Yes. We went on a 10-day safari in Tanzania this last year. We went to a bunch of the national parks, including the Serengeti. We spent a couple of nights out in a canvas tent in the middle of the Serengeti.
RM: That sounds terrifying.
SC-C: It was like glamping. There’s not a lot of hotels out in the middle of the Serengeti. It was a big canvas tent with a king-size bed and a wood floor and a bathroom, which is a big jug outside that they fill with hot water when you’re ready to shower, and a chemical toilet. At night, you can hear all the jaguars as well as leopards and the lions prowling around behind your camp. On one of the nights, there were actually four or five lions right behind our tents. And our guide the next day was like, “Oh, did you see the lions last night?” And we’re like, “No. We were laying in our bed not moving, trying not to breathe because these lions are roaring behind our tent.”
RM: What do you have in common with these people? Tessa Luedtke from South Milwaukee High School, Taylor Atkinson from Franklin High School ...
SC-C: Taylor was on my soccer team at Franklin High [in Franklin, Wis.].
RM: Yes. You were all named to the all-North Division in high school soccer. Do you still play?
SC-C: I do. I play on Momentum, which is in the Rochester Soccer Club. It’s an adult co-ed rec league.
RM: How many times ... I just heard what sounded like a human screaming in the background. Should I hang up so one of us can call 911?
SC-C: I’m sorry, what?
RM: The screaming. I heard screaming.
SC-C: Oh, that’s the cat. That’s Tai. We have two cats. Their names are Maui and Tai. Tai is for Mai Tai. I’m working from home and Tai doesn’t like it when I talk on the phone to other people because then I’m not paying attention to him. So he sits on my TV stand and screams at me until I pay attention.
RM: OK. Whew. Does he show up when you are on telemeetings and everyone says “Awww! It’s a cat!”?
SC-C: I don’t have my camera on all that often. But, yeah, he’ll meow in the background. I was talking to Tory Johnson [the head of IBM-Rochester] this week and Tai was meowing in the background. So that was pretty funny.
RM: I got to interview Tory for a big story on IBM we did a few issues ago for Rochester Magazine. He seemed like a really nice guy.
SC-C: Yes, I really like Tory. We’re lucky to have him in Rochester. He’s really great for our site.
RM: I’ll put that in this story so your boss sees it.
SC-C: OK. That would be good.