Profile: Humyura Anika

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), is a field where women are largely outnumbered by men.

According to Catalyst, women are still a minority in STEM occupations, making up around one quarter of those in STEM-based jobs.

For students like Humyura Anika, this just gives her even more of a reason to pursue her dreams, aside from truly enjoying what she does.

Humyura Anika is a sophomore majoring in architecture at Temple University. The major largely involves designing structures, and along with that, incorporates many aspects of STEM. Anika first developed an interest when she was in the 7th grade.

“My cousin was studying architecture at the time and I would see him designing small models. I immediately thought to myself, ‘I want to do that too!’” she said.

Now in her second year of studying architecture, Anika still retains the amount of passion she had the moment she discovered what she could do with it.

Although she is currently undeclared within the program, Anika hopes to stick to designing in the future. She expressed that one of her favorite things about architecture is the fact that she gets to design what she pleases.

“With architecture, whatever you think of, you are able to design it,” she said.

Unfortunately, architecture is a major with more more men than women. For Anika, her sophomore class consists of an equal amount of men and women who are majoring in architecture, thus allowing her to dodge some of the challenges some women studying architecture elsewhere might face. With her class, she finds that both herself and her male colleagues receive the same amount of critique. However, one thing she cannot dodge is the amount of hard work her major demands, a reason that has led her to believe why there may be more men in the field.

“People think architecture is so easy and is just design. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it. You need calculations, you carry a lot of stuff with you, you work in the woodshop. That is why I think people understand it to be so male-dominated,” she said.

At Temple University, Anika says the population of students within the major is relatively small, which she views as an advantage.

“Everyone works together; if someone in my grade needs help with something they can easily ask for help from someone who is a senior and has done it all before,” she said.

Even though Anika does not necessarily deal with many harsh realities of being in a male-dominated field at school as of right now, it is very likely this will not be the case once she goes into the workplace after graduation. When asked about possible gender inequalities within the workplace, Anika made clear that she is not letting those future obstacles get to her.

While in high school, Anika was told that the world needs more female architects. Since then, she has taken that statement and used it as motivation.

“I like to think of it as a chance for me to shine,” she said.

Anika also looks up to female architects and uses their success to add onto things that motivate her as well. One architect who inspires her is Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-British architect who recently passed away in 2016. Anika believes that if Hadid, a woman, was able to reach a high level of success and recognition for her work despite the odds, there is no reason to let anything stop her from doing what she loves.

To other young women out there who want to pursue architecture or other STEM careers, Anika wants to acknowledge that there is a lot of commitment involved. However, if it is something they are passionate about, there shouldn’t be any reason not to go for it.

“I would definitely say it is hard work. You have to know you are going to do it. Just don’t give up,” she said.

Anika has taken a situation that has created concerns amongst women and has instead turned it into something that will push her to reach her goals. Her positivity and enthusiasm is contagious and should encourage women that it is important to not let anything or anyone dim your light.