My STEM Experience
I was fortunate to have great female and male mentors to help guide and support me in both graduate school and in my legal career. I experienced gender bias during both undergraduate and graduate school, but this bias was outweighed by the support I received from my mentors. For example, my graduate advisor frequently expressed his view that woman are allegedly not as dedicated to science as their male counterparts, and that women are more easily distracted from their research.
As a woman, I felt I was frequently being compared to the men in the lab, and I had to work harder to prove my dedication. In response, I looked to other women in the lab for guidance, and I asked respected female professors to be on my thesis committee. When I decided to move from the research lab to the legal field, I also looked to women mentors to help advise me in this transition. Finally, my mentors at Marshall Gerstein have been instrumental for my success as a patent attorney.
Take advantage of mentoring opportunities, both to learn from more experienced mentors and to provide support and guidance to more junior women and men.
STEM in a Changing World
I believe STEM is becoming more mainstream and STEM careers are more accessible to people from all walks of life. For example, my sons now have a STEM course in elementary school in addition to their normal science class. The importance of STEM in everyday life is becoming general knowledge, and as a result, people of all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds are developing an interest in STEM subjects. Accessibility to these STEM subjects is increasing as well. Hopefully, this increased accessibility will cause more diverse people to pursue careers in the STEM fields, and leaders will realize the value of having diverse teams.