STEM, short for career fields in Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Math, careers are at the height of their demand. With this demand comes the push for more girls to join these fields and pursue these majors in college. This might be a recent revelation, but some major companies are on board for these changes. Google intends to compliment this growing demand with their programs to educate girls about computer coding, and scholarship foundations eagerly await female applicants so they can fund a college career because the world wants more girls doing great things. In the interest of getting a feel for what opportunities a STEM major can help you achieve, the following are some interviews from girls pursuing science majors and the amazing opportunities they have experienced:
Trinity University junior and Biology major with a Spanish minor, Celina Provencio, became interested in the medical field shortly after arriving at college her freshmen year. She had previously enjoyed her AP biology class in high school, but she wasn’t set on being a doctor until college. She says, “[Her] love for science and knowledge of the human body has brought [her] to this decision.” When asked if she feels exceptional as a girl pursuing this career she says that, “The challenge is equal for men and women, but I do see less women, which might intimidate others.”
During the summer of 2014, she was a student research assistant at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where she interned in a lab conducting studies on the effects of a drug as potential treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In this position, she assisted in examining the drug’s effects on mice with dementia. Celina will continue with this research project in the fall where she will help present the findings in December 2014. She also hopes to attend a conference for Neuroscience research in Washington D.C. in the fall. Her advice for Latinitas readers pursuing a medical career is: “Although it can be intimidating, as long as you have a passion for it… you can be successful in college and a medical career, and this applies to any pursuit.”
Another Trinity University junior, Alyssa Izquierdo, who is majoring in Neuroscience for a career in research and clinical psychology, tells Latinitas about her research internship and why she loves science. When she looked in to Trinity, she knew she wished to pursue something in cognitive health, and she was interested in exploring how to help people with mental illnesses. With a degree in Neuroscience, she hopes to combine her love of biology and cognitive health for a fresh perspective on the treatment of mental health.
This past summer, she was a student assistant in a research project involving a drug that mimicked Parkinson’s disease in marmoset monkeys for the purpose of detecting the disease with an earlier diagnosis via the help of behavioral tests. Her role as a student assisted was counting and documenting diseased neurons for research data. Alyssa also hopes to attend a conference for Neuroscience research in Washington D.C. in the fall. As a student research assistant, she finds that it is encouraging that she has mentor professor and peer tutor who are both female. “I hope people start seeing that just because you’re a woman, it does not mean you can’t get your name out there in science. The female [professors] I have met at Trinity are some of the most brilliant scientists I can think of,” she said.
Her advice for girls is: “Take [a variety] of classes to see what you like, and talk to professors of different fields.” She also encourages girls, even those not interested in pursuing a medical career, to never fear taking science classes, as it can be a very rewarding experience.
Contrary to what we might believe, pursuing a medical career does not necessarily mean you have to eat, sleep, and breath science all of the time. Caileen Tallant,a junior at Trinity University offers her perspective on being a Music Composition major with minors in Biology and Chemistry. Caileen feels that she is making the most of her time spent at college by majoring in one of her greatest passions while also working towards a future career in medicine. She hopes to appeal to medical school in her application by majoring in something outside of the standard chemistry and biology majors.
The research that she is involved in consists of a computational chemistry lab, where she programs the computer to run tests on alternative ways to remove toxins from the environment. The potential use of this research is meant to offer a way to make cleaner water and she looks forward to continuing this research in the fall. She wishes to leave these encouraging words for readers: “Go for it. You can do whatever you put your mind to. Look towards your end goal, and if you work your hardest, you can reach it”.
For more information on STEM related careers, visit: http://nerdgirls.com. A website for girls and teens interested in embracing their smart-girl individuality.