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Specifically for women in STEM, what made you want to pursue stem in college?

I want to pursue STEM in college and I’m curious on how other women got interested in it. #women-in-stem


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Victoria’s Answer

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Hi Alyssa,


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.

Most of the jobs in the future will require STEM. The way to get kids excited about STEM is to experience STEM. #women-in-stem #stem


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:

What makes you want to pursue STEM? What experiences have you had that inspire you?
How do you think we could reach more girls and young women to go into STEM? What projects or experiences do you think would get more kids inspired?
Think about each area: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math specifically, what do you think would be a very cool experience in each one...like taking kids to the planetarium, taking a microscope to a pond, building a computer...

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Stefanie’s Answer

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:

Identify STEM fields that you are particularly interested in. Start big (physics, biology, ...), then go into more detail (astrophysics, plant biology, ...).
Try connecting to students and people in STEM careers and ask them about what they do to get a better idea of what is possible. Your science teacher, Twitter or the American Chemcial Society could be useful resources.

Your answer is great Stefanie, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work! Jordan Rivera COACH

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Alicia’s Answer

Hey girl. So, I'm here, to be honest, and honestly, I was mesmerized by the idea that women didn't belong in these high profile jobs. I knew we did, I knew that the grace and kindness of being a woman were exactly what Technology and Engineering needed. I knew it wasn't going to be a cakewalk but that at the end of it I would be proud of what I had accomplished. Fast forward to today and I was SO right!!! Technology is ever-changing and growing!! Now more than ever the youth has to rise up and be the change the world needs. Technology has to get better (it's not perfect) and we can't wait for men to solve it for us. As a matter of fact, this new wave of beautiful technology will be made better by women from every part of the world-building with love in mind.

Alicia recommends the following next steps:

Listen to powerful women speak and emulate their confidence. Shoulders back, direct eye contact.

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Rosey’s Answer

We need more women in technology to have a diverse future in technology. The moment I started to learn how technology works, I was empowered. I became the subject matter expert and it felt good to be able to articulate how technology works to others. Although I did not pursue STEM in college, STEM was part of college in every subject almost, so it is so important to have a fundamental understanding of STEM to be successful in college and in your career. I have my Bachelors degree in English Literature and Masters degree in Law, I used STEM while attaining my degrees and use STEM in my role today.

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Sharon’s Answer

In high school, I enjoyed math and science. I had a unique opportunity to take an early class in computer programming (during a summer) and found it very logical and intriguing. When considering college majors, it was important to me that I could graduate, find a job, and be self-sufficient. I remember looking at "top 10 lists" and quickly concluding that an engineering degree would make it easier to find a lucrative job right after college graduation. This was important to me (relatively high starting salary). I studied engineering as an undergrad (Operations Research and Industrial Engineering).

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