What Inspired You to Pursue a Career in STEM?

Here’s my story:

💲I chose STEM for the scholarship money.

I’d love to say that someone ignited my interest in STEM early in my life. Nope.

Here’s what actually happened:

I am an only child of a military family. We moved every three years like clockwork, all across the US and Germany.

I had trouble making friends, but I was really good at academics.

Money was tight. I attribute my stellar math skills to helping my mom at the grocery store. I knew how to round up when I put the prices on my tally sheet to avoid the embarrassment of having to take something off the belt if my Mom didn’t have enough cash.

🎯I saw college as a path to a more financially secure future, but I didn’t know what I wanted to study. All of my role models were soldiers. I also had no idea how I was going to pay for it.

💡When I went for a campus visit at my dream school (Penn State). The admissions team said, “Hey if you are good at math and science, we are offering scholarships for minorities who study engineering”.

🚀So I applied, got in, and that was it. I was going to Penn State to study engineering.

😕Even though I had no idea what it was!

I picked chemical engineering because, at that time, it was the highest-paying engineering discipline according to US News and World Report.

That is just how I roll. I often tell people, “My intuition is a spreadsheet”.

I’ve had a fun, exciting, challenging, and impactful career.

💙I love to see all of the work that is being done to provide STEM role models for kids.

And, it’s also OK to pick something for reasons of economic empowerment. You can find ways to make it fun and meaningful along the way.

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