I am interviewing three women who are inspiring, intelligent, awesome, determined, motivated and STEM majors. I look up to these three women because I see the amount of work they put into their classes everyday and admire their determination for success in a male dominated field.
Name: Jaclyn Mauro
Jackie: Biochem major, math minor
Name: Rama Karadsheh
Name: Elizabeth Pattara
HC: Why did you choose a major in STEM?
JM: I liked ap biology and ap chemistry in hs the most so I decided to combine them together to get biochem.
RK: Ever since I was a little girl, I loved science class the most. I was always way more interested in science than English or history (mostly because I wasn’t very good at those). I used to ask so questions about the world by asking why things were the way they were. My siblings always thought I was annoying but my parents saw a little scientist.
EP: My decision to pursue a major in STEM was an accumulation of many factors. I always had a natural fascination with the inner-workings and mechanisms controlling the human body. I was endlessly curious about various pathologies plaguing our physiology and the many methods of treatment. I loved that I was teetering a fine line between understanding complex material and constantly being challenged. However, the driving force behind my decision to pursue a medical career was the idea that I could put the vast expanse of knowledge I had accrued over many years to save someone’s life. I have seen doctors toil to save burn victims, cancer patients, and trauma casualties. I hope that one day, I too will have the privilege to put my hands on a patient and use my knowledge to help them.
HC: How can you encourage younger girls to be more exposed and more interested in STEM?
JM: I try to inspire younger girls at camp because they have a choice of attending the science portion of camp for the first half of the day and I ask them when they get out of it what they did that day and if it was fun and maybe any fun facts I have.
RK: READ! As a kid, I always took out books at the public library about at home science experiments or about the solar system. Nowadays, the internet is an easy source of endless information. Whatever you are curious about, find ways to learn about it. When you find something you like enough, don’t lose that fire! Passion grows when you feed it the fuel it wants.
EP: The best way to encourage young girls to pursue a career in STEM is through exposure. As a whole, society is constantly improving the perception and publicity of girls in science. However, the same cannot be said for developing countries around the world. Negative perceptions about female math and science abilities start very young. Various studies have indicated that girls as young as 5 start developing the instinct that they are not good at math. Thus, it is critical to foster interest, support, and equality when developing STEM skills. I remember growing up, never seeing a doll or barbie depicted as a doctor, she was always a nurse, and the male was the doctor. If young girls can see women succeeding in stem (whether it be through role models, TV characters, or even a Barbie doll) they will have the belief that they can do it too. Incorporating a positive psychological media approach would benefit girls in trying to figure out what they are passionate about, where they can go, and what they can be.
HC: What does being a woman in stem means to you?
RK: It feels empowering that I could potentially contribute to big advancements in medicine and technology. In a male-dominant field, I feel like women are under more pressure to show their capabilities and to be impressive. However, it is important to remind myself that women are powerful and intelligent. I may bring a different point of view to a problem or question that could be monumental in the helping society or the planet.
HC: Any thoughts on the wage gap in medicine?
JM: I don’t really specialize in medical field stuff but from what I hear is that women are less likely than men to negotiate their pay when they first get a job/ask for raises so therefore they would have a lower pay in the end. I also hear that men are more likely to take a new job offer that will give them more money at a new company but women are less likely to take that new opportunity if there are comfortable where they work because they have different ethical values. I also just heard that more women are in med school now than men.
EP: The discouraging truth is that there is a significant wage gap between males and females in an abounding number of careers, not just medicine. If girls were discouraged from medicine because of the wage gap, then they would struggle to find work in many other fields. The wage gap disparity derives itself from the primitive mindset that women are inadequate or incapable of performing a task as well as their male counterparts. While we are slowly chipping away at such archaic views, it is this mindset that permits different treatment of males and females in the workforce and classroom, and is definitely the biggest challenge faced as a woman in STEM. I hope that one day, perhaps in the near future, women becoming CEO’s, doctors, astronauts, or presidents is mundane. That women taking on leadership roles has become so commonplace that we no longer have to celebrate it. Until then, there will be many tenacious women who will pursue a career in STEM and persistently defy norms. May they continue to inspire future generations of intelligent, diligent, and honest girls who will ceaselessly pursue their dreams and confidently lead us into the future.
HC: What do you like most about your major?
JM:I like organic chemistry most about my major and also I’d say I think the classes are set up in a good order and that I can also take grad school organic which will help a ton when I actually go to grad school.
RK: Although it isn’t always easy, I like the challenge my courses give me. I am forced to be innovative and solve problems daily. There is so much depth to understanding something and science helps peel those layers back. I also appreciate biochemistry because I learn about the body, but it also explains the reactions that go on inside of it.
HC: What are your future career goals?
JM: Career goals I want my PhD in organic chemistry and I want to ideally work with developing and synthesizing pharmaceuticals but I would take any job on Long Island that needs an organic chemist.
RK: Although I am not entirely sure what the future holds for me, I know that I want to make a difference in how people eat. It is amazing how many of the diseases that affect Americans in this country are linked to diet. I want to be a force in helping people understand food and the interactions it undergoes in the human body. I believe people have the power to take care of their bodies; they just need the knowledge to understand how.
HC: What is the biggest challenge you face as a woman in STEM?
JC: I think biggest challenge is the classes a very difficult and in the research field I feel like women are less reluctant to go into. I don’t know why either they think that being a doctor is the only option or are intimidated by the amount of men in it because I could see that there are very few research science women compared to med school.
Thank you to my three roommates and models for being the women they are today and continuing to inspire the younger generation of women who will pursue careers in the STEM field.