Amy Loret is a senior studying Honors Biology with a triple minor in Chemistry, Ethnic Studies, and Psychology. Amy is president of the U’s American Chemical Society Student Chapter and a Resident Advisor at the Marriot Honors Community. HerCampus reached out to Amy to learn more about an organization she founded on campus, Organization for Women Leaders in Science (OWLS).
HC: What do you want to do with your degree after graduation?
AL: I (currently) plan on becoming a pediatric neuroradiologist. I also hope to conduct social neuroscience research into the neurobiological mechanisms underlying implicit, unconscious biases.
HC: Why did you choose this career path?
AL: I chose this career path because I am interested in integrating the fields of neuroscience and social justice to further inform and improve healthcare policy and human rights efforts. There needs to be more diversity in the STEM fields, and my hope is that I can challenge prejudice, bias, and mental health stigmas from within the system.
HC: Why did you found OWLS?
AL: I received the opportunity to participate in the ACCESS Program for Women in STEM the summer before freshman year. The ACCESS Program for Women in STEM provided me with valuable support and resources that helped me get a jump start in undergraduate research and networking on campus. Two of my friends and I founded OWLS in 2015 with the hope that we could do the same for women in STEM on campus who were not ACCESS Program participants.
HC: How does OWLS help women in STEM majors?
The organization also provides a community on campus that encourages students to explore and challenge diversity and equality issues faced by women and minorities in STEM. Some of our events include Wage Negotiation Workshops, participating in the March for Science, and Women in STEM Panels.
HC: What is OWLS working on this semester?
AL: We are currently in the process of looking for new executive membership in order to keep the organization going! I am also working with the Women’s Resource Center and the Women’s Enrollment Initiative to develop new strategies for organization activities as well as recruitment and retention of members.
HC: What advice would you give to other women in STEM majors?
AL: It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to study or what you want to be when you grow up. It’s not okay if you feel like you can’t pursue a career in STEM because of some social or systemic barriers. Seek out supportive faculty members and current students, and do your research before joining a research lab. Apply for things, even if you feel like you are not qualified. You’ll surprise yourself.
Don’t hesitate to speak up for what you and others deserve, and be clear about what you want (such as recognition on a research project). Be strategic in your approach to pursuing your goals. If you’re aware of how others may perceive you as a woman in STEM you can use this to your advantage. Show your skills and expertise in STEM rather than trying to be “like one of the guys”. Recognize that intersectionality is a thing and privilege is a spectrum. If someone tells you that you are “too smart” or “too bossy”, take it as a compliment! Talk to me, because we could be friends!
If you are a STEM major interested in joining OWLS, please reach out to Amy Loret at email@example.com.