Five questions: An interview with Maxine Friend

The Jackson Laboratory
Q: Where did you grow up?

A: You can tell I didn't grow up here? [laughs] I grew up in Sydney, Australia, right in the city, but I spent holidays with relatives in the country and have always been a real farm girl at heart.

Q: How did you come to Maine?

A: I was working as the executive assistant for the son of one of the richest families in Australia. It was fun at first, but soon I looked for other things to do and started teaching swimming on the weekends. And that brought me to a camp in Maine, after I was recruited by an international camp counselor program. I met my future husband while working at the camp, and though there was back-and-forth up front, I ended up staying here.

Q: Was it an easy transition?

A: No! It was a very snowy winter when I came back the first time, and I'd never experienced anything like it. I managed to survive the culture shock though.

Q: How did you come to the Laboratory?

A: They were looking for an administrative assistant for a group of researchers. I'd never spent time with scientists—I had the stereotype of the white coat all the time and that sort of thing—but I was excited to come here. It's been 10 years now, and I've really enjoyed working with my assigned scientists in their labs.

Q: What are your outside interests?

A: I just started a hobby farm, and I'm very excited. I started with chickens, and now I'm working to expand a pig breed that's endangered and has been left behind by the industrial farming industry. I also have two horses and love to trail ride. I've been active in the American Competitive Trail Horse Association and have learned a great deal from the community, including many professional horse people. I'm very fortunate to have had so many opportunities to work with high-profile horse experts over the past few years.