6 answers

How would you describe your experiences as a woman pursuing STEM in a sentence?

Asked New York, New York

6 answers

Brenna’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Without question, being a Software Engineer is the most rewarding, challenging, intense, beautiful, terrifying and worthwhile journey I've been on; you gotta play the long game -- it's absolutely worth it.

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How was it terrifying for you?
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It was mostly a long list of ways I was scared to fail: I wasn't smart enough, I wouldn't be taken seriously, I couldn't lead, I wasn't learning, I was learning the wrong things, I would mess up something important...I had to grow and stretch into uncomfortable places because I wasn't sure I could do it. There was a quote I used to keep with me: "The only difference between a master and a novice is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried." In the end, it was the skill of learning how to make mistakes and keep going that was the most valuable for me -- but *very* uncomfortable and scary despite it's value.
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Did you ever felt penalized for failing? Besides learning from your mistakes, what were the other consequences of failure throughout your pursuit of STEM?
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I absolutely agree with you!
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That's a great question. Did I ever feel penalized for failing?...Yes, and also no. I felt shame, for sure, which made me reluctant to take risks sometimes. And I have definitely experienced judgment from colleagues who dismissed or underestimated me. However, I never felt shut down or shut out because of failure. Most of the consequences have been about my sense of confidence rather than any external pressure.
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Thank you for the follow-up! I find it interesting that your failures impacted your self confidence more than external pressure, because I did not know that was possible before given my limited experience. I hope I can have your maturity and sense of optimism as I pursue my career. :)

Abhilasha’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

It is a roller-coaster. It has its highs and lows. But at the end of the day, you will enjoy it.

Tere’s Answer

Updated Mexico City, Mexico

It is hard sometimes, but it's worth it, you should never give up as women are more than capable to succeed in STEM.

Kerry’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Every woman who pursues STEM is not only supporting others, but is also paving the path for future women in STEM - we all benefit!

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I totally agree, and am so glad to be a part of that process as a STEM student right now. :)
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Clio, This field is so rewarding I couldn't have asked for a better career. It can be tough for us but as long as we remain confident and think two steps ahead we will continue to head in the right direction. I encourage you to put yourself out there if you're not already doing so and attend conferences and networking events. I have met so many smart women in STEM and have grown a bond with them. Here are some conferences I would recommend. Grace Hopper, Black Hat, DEF CON, WBENC and The Makers Conference. There are many many more! Please let me know if there is anything I can assist with! Good Luck!
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Hi LaDavia, Thanks for adding to the conversation! While I am not pursuing computer science/computer engineering, I know some peers who do and their motivation and passion for their field truly amaze and inspire me to do well in my own! I will let my peers know of the opportunities you mentioned, thank you again. :) I think, the diversity of STEM will continue to make an impact at large, and I am excited to experience that firsthand with my peers firsthand into the future.

Christina’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

My experiences as a woman in STEM in a sentence can be summed up as rewarding but frustrating. The work is interesting, challenging, and pays well, but even after nearly twenty years there's an aspect of not fitting into the boy's club that most tech companies are.

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Hi Christina, I might be able to relate to that after graduation because my interest is in construction engineering, which is a field often dominated by males. But even in my internships thus far, I really am hopeful about us women making a place for ourselves to belong and contribute, because that seems to be the sustainable solution to me. I hope for your experiences, the rewards exceed your frustrations at the end of the day. :) Good luck to your career's development, and thank you for your answer!

Rama’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Science & Technology will only advance and the many possibilities to learn and excel in this field is very intriguing for a woman in STEM. March on and don't abandon the rough yet solid road!!