What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?
Early exposure to the vast array of possible careers in STEM is essential. Many students in my community do not even believe that careers like engineers, scientists and doctors are an option for them. They don’t know what those jobs look like and have never seen someone that looks like them in those roles so having relatable role models is so important.
How is the world changing with respect to STEM?
I think the biggest change I have seen is the growth and overall shift towards system-based understanding of scientific processes such as the fields of genomics (the study of an organism’s DNA), proteomics (the study of proteins in a cell) and bioinformatics (the science of using computers to store and analyze biological data). This really impacts the type of skills and analytic approaches that students across STEM fields have to learn. Moving towards holistic-informed knowledge is an exciting current trend across STEM.
Where do you see women in STEM in five years?
In five years, women in STEM will be running the world! My hope is that women will have achieved equity in academic faculty representation, in leadership positions across all STEM fields and in entrepreneurial opportunities that will allow the next generation to have the role models they need.
Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?
As a woman in STEM, I am a product of life-changing mentorship by female professors who were breaking ground in their respective fields. I benefited from watching personal role models overcome barriers in gender discrimination, both overt and subversive, and go on to chair departments, get tenured at top research institutions and earn million-dollar awards for their innovative research ideas. They impacted my career trajectory and inspired me to take on hurdles knowing that others before me have paved the way. Due to their influence, I am passionate about mentoring and deeply committed to pathway programs that make STEM careers achievable for all.