There are two things I have a huge appreciation for in life: women and STEM domains. When I think about my sister, my mother, my grandmother and the rest of my female ancestors, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride for years of history and hard work.
There is still a huge gender gap in the workplace, especially in STEM fields, and women often feel discouraged to pursue careers in STEM, let alone STEM Policy. This was definitely the case for me. The Women in STEM Policy Seminar helped me gain a confidence I did not know I could have. All of the panelists at this seminar were incredibly successful and inspiring, and I could not help but feel overwhelmed with the support I was getting from all directions.
Throughout the week, I not only learned about what working in STEM Policy truly means, but I also had the opportunity to experience a little bit of what it feels like to work in such a field. Some of us made trips to The National Science Foundation, The National Health Institutes, and others even went to NASA. The best part about these trips was that we were always welcomed by women who were shaping our world by working at these organizations.
If you don’t know what STEM Policy is all about, I cannot help but encourage you to attend this seminar. If you feel like you do not have the confidence to pursue a STEM field, I once again encourage you to attend. This seminar changed me by motivating me to join organizations and apply to internships I was afraid to pursue before. I started my spring semester of college re-inspired to make my dreams come true, all thanks to this seminar. Throughout the week, I not only learned about STEM Policy, but also gained new insights on the skills needed to apply for a job in this field. We covered topics like interview and networking skills, and I feel ready to conquer my future.
Lastly, Women in STEM Policy taught me two very important things:
1. It is all right if things don’t work out. When you reach a wall, you can climb it. It might take a while to learn how to climb it, but nothing is impossible.
2. No matter what you study, within STEM or another field, there are countless opportunities for you ahead.
Many of the panelists that spoke to us had worked with companies or organizations unrelated to their domains. The most important thing is to work hard and pursue your passion. The rest will work itself out. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Women in STEM Policy Seminar. In one week I made new friends and connections, learned more than I could have imagined about STEM Policy, and explored what D.C. has to offer. If I had the opportunity, I would do it all over again.
Paula Suciu attended the 2016 Women in STEM Policy seminar as a freshman at George Mason University.