I love your question!!! It's made me do some thinking. I like that, thank you.
The important thing about STEM is to have as many experiences as you can in a wide range of areas (repeat that to yourself).
It is one thing to read about STEM in a book...it really comes alive when you interact with STEM in the real world. What do I mean?
When I was a little kid, I built a radio by hand. I read about making one in a book but I wanted to actually make one. I figured out what I needed: I wrapped the copper, found a crystal diode, and made a tuner. It took a couple of tries but I put it together and finally got it to work. The way I knew it worked was because I suddenly started to hear radio signals coming through my headset connected to my very simple device. I was so excited - I was capturing sounds out of the air that I could not see but that I could hear. I was totally hooked.
Finding those STEM experiences and providing those to other kids is so important.
So what makes you want to pursue STEM?
How do you think we could reach more girls and young women to go into STEM?
Victoria recommends the following next steps:
In school, I was drawn to biology, physics and chemistry because I loved learning about how things work. For example, I wanted to know why it rains and why a lightbulb lights up, why the thunder always comes after the lightning, and what's that silver fluid inside the thermometer?
Nonetheless, I made the choice to major in chemistry largely based on the idea that it would allow me to support myself after I graduated. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could study a difficult subject and succeed "despite" being a girl. (Where I grew up, STEM careers were almost exclusively pursued by men).
The university often felt like a boys' club and the complexity of the subject was sometimes overwhelming. Nonetheless, or maybe precisely because it isn't always easy, being in STEM has been extremely rewarding. I learned to work my way through very complex problems and develop an in-depth understanding of a subject. As someone already remarked, it feels great to be an expert in something! On top of that, I have met many fantastic people and learned so much more than I could ever have imagined.
Sort of an afterthought: I am in chemistry but STEM fields can be very different from each other in the way they are taught in college, in what is expected from a student, and with regards to the predominant culture in a field.
Stefanie recommends the following next steps:
Alicia recommends the following next steps: