What happens when your project fails? Dr. Erica Pratt, researcher at University of Texas MD Cancer Medical Center, talks about the bias against discussing negative results in science and the struggle to succeed as a nontraditional student. If you aren’t what people expect a scientist to look like AND are rather modest, you need mentors to go the extra mile as coaches. We discuss Erica’s trajectory from her undergrad at Carnegie Mellon, which required all undergrads in the new biomedical engineering to have a second engineering major *just to be safe*, to her current postdoc work on liquid biopsy in pancreatic cancer. Liz, Xine, and Erica talk about evaluation beyond traditional metrics, morbid humor, depression, perfectionism, and pet peeves about science in popular media.