How are you connected to the WST Learning Community?
I am really passionate about encouraging women to go into STEM, and during my freshman year, I interviewed Dr. Colatrella to ask about her work in the field. She gave me wonderful information and inspired me to keep researching the topic.
What advice would you give to students on succeeding academically at Georgia Tech?
Work hard at school and think about all the people you can impact with the knowledge you learn. When things get tough, you can always put energy into the things you are passionate about now at Tech.
What advice would you give to students on acclimating socially to Georgia Tech?
Find an outlet that suites you. No matter how much work you have, drop it, take an hour break, and do the thing you love. Your friends will follow.
What has been your favorite Georgia Tech experience?
I have been so lucky to find others who are so passionate about women’s empowerment. We have feminist rant Fridays and discuss human rights issues in the world. Tech has offered such a unique environment for me.
What are you involved with on campus, and why?
Two years ago, five other women and I started Stempower, which is a long-term mentoring program to encourage girls to pursue STEM. We realized that girls were lacking the confidence and resources to pursue STEM. After much research, we realized that around the ages of 12-13, girls start being afraid of math and believing that boys are better at it than them. Gender roles push girls away from the STEM fields, and they are discouraged from taking risks and being curious. Our program established five pillars that encourage girls to have self-confidence. With confidence, girls can believe in themselves doing STEM and push through hard obstacles that they will face.
We have been mentoring girls for two years now in partnership with the Girl Scouts of America in Atlanta. We work with fourth grade girls and do fun STEM activities such as coding, building rockets, or making circuits. The girls get so excited about STEM that they take risks at the meetings and ask a ton of questions. We can really see them exploring and taking chances on the activities.
In the future, we will expand the mentoring program to work with more troops of the Girl Scouts. We are excited to improve the number of women attending Georgia Tech and encourage girls to always reach for the stars! When I see the amazing women at Georgia Tech, I am inspired to keep working hard to mentor these younger girls.
What has been your study abroad experience while at Georgia Tech?
I lived in Uganda last summer where I worked to start Stempower Uganda. Women are very underrepresented in STEM in Uganda, and I am excited to work with the Ugandan team to be on the forefront of this issue. We are doing a similar model to Stempower in the U.S., but with different activities accustomed to the culture. My favorite activity was giving girls only two pieces of printer paper and making them stack as many ears of corn on top of a structure that is six inches high. They think it is impossible at first; then they persevere, and it works out! This is the reason we started Stempower. We love seeing girls learn to work hard and persevere through challenges. I cannot wait to see the next generation of Steminists!