My position as a STEM Ambassador reaches further than a resume title or overcoming a fear of public speaking. Growing up in rural Georgia as a low-income, underrepresented minority, I was in desperate need of a STEM representative to tell me that my interest alone made me eligible. I fumbled my way into the STEM field, anxious I couldn’t make it to the end. And though my scientific strengths proved itself worthy time and time again, I doubted my own capabilities, constantly in my head about if I was the right person for this field.
The truth is – representation matters. It mattered as the only black girl on my school bus, and it still matters as an established sophomore majoring in Biomedical Neuroscience and Psychology Neuroscience. I became a STEM Ambassador to be the face of hope that I lacked growing up, to tell the kids with free and reduced lunch that there’s a place for them in the subjects they love.
My advice to future STEM students goes as so – you don’t have to fit the mold. You can be a STEM major and learn at a slow pace. You can be a STEM major and hate certain aspects of it. You can be a STEM major and grab pizza with your friends on the weekend. STEM does not disqualify you from being human – it’s just another skill set to the list of qualities that makes you, you.