From The Women In STEM

From The Women In STEM

This is what they don't tell you as a female science major.
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From wearing natural hair to work, to realizing that medical school is not for you - women of various backgrounds have recently shared with my fellow classmates and I, not only the hardships of a science major - but the hurdles a woman in the STEM field must overcome. Their career pathways weren't always direct - that golden dream of medical school turning just a bit too molten, impractical, and unrealistic for them - but yet they persevered and pursued the road not planned.

So what wisdom have they imparted? Well for one, you are still a woman. Radical sexism and discrimination aside, you cannot be rid of your gender. You may alter it, you may accept it, you may even choose to ignore it - but genetically and historically - you were perceived to wear the skirt and apron - not the sterile, white lab coat. So as a woman, take a step back and realize that you are going to have hurdles your male counterparts won't have. While history is revolutionizing itself in terms of gender-stereotyped roles, it still stands that you might want a family - and you might be encumbered for a few months. So understand that it is okay to take a break - it is okay, to demand for shorter hours - you can leave and find a better school, job, or maybe even major that will respect what and who you are. Sometimes medical school isn’t for you, sometimes being a physical assistant, is more accommodating for your future goals beyond the dream job.

Because you are a woman. You are not the shadow counterpart of your colleagues or bosses. You are entitled to your rights, to put your foot down, and make sure you get the equality you deserve.

Key word: equality.

Equality, because you are a woman - you will have to balance on the edge of overconfident and humbleness. And what do I mean by that? One night, one student asked the panelists if it was professional or not to wear her natural hair to interview - and to an extent - work. One of the directors of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, Daiichi Sankyo, said that it depends. America is revolutionizing, but other countries are still years behind in gender stereotyping. She advised caution and told the student to let the natural come out, when her actions have spoken for her abilities. The lesson here, is that revolution is a risk. As a whole, the professional world is still predominantly misogynic - and the choice to wear your natural hair, get that crazy hair color, is up to you. Ask yourself this: can you risk it?

However, besides being a woman there were a few key points that were said which could be universally used by everyone.

Network. Network like your life depends on it. In this day and age of technology and virtual associations, a degree is sometimes not enough to land you the job. If your future employers can speak to someone who they know, and who also personally know you – they will. And if the liaison’s word is good, you most likely will get that position. Besides that, networking can also go beyond the word of recommendation and find or even give you an offer for a job.

Learn to understand. Do not learn just go get that A or barely passing, B. If you can understand the material, you will be set for the future. If you only learn to forget after the test, you will struggle in the future. In the sciences, everything you learn from your first year and beyond is used as a foundation to learn bigger and more complex things. So don’t set yourself up for failure and month-long cram sessions in the future. Get the material down now, and let your final, cumulative exam pass by like a breeze. Or something close enough to a breeze.

Understand your worth, understand you are a woman, network – learn and retain, and you will make it big out there future STEM worker.

Cover Image Credit: Bill Dickinson

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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10 Things Economics Majors Want You To Know

For the MOST part, it isn't that bad.

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I decided to become an economics major the day I started college — I know, it wasn't easy for me to decide. Well, technically the real reason why I even chose the major to begin with was that I was undecided when applying for colleges. I was, and still am, an indecisive person.

When I saw economics as one of the majors at Stony Brook, I thought it was something I was interested in. After all, it was the "study of markets and the behaviors of people in that same market." Besides psychology and philosophy (the two majors my parents didn't want me to study), I then chose econ. While it wasn't a piece of cake, it wasn't too challenging either. Here are a couple things we all want so desperately to say.

1. It's not all math, don't worry

While so many people tend to think that economics is all math and no fun, I beg to differ. As I mentioned above, it is the "study of the behavior of people in the market," so while it is equations and statistics, it is also observing how people treat prices and products.

2. It's not difficult to understand

I don't understand why parents think that if you're majoring in econ, you're pretty much signing up to fail all your courses. If they actually took the course, they would understand that it isn't the economic theory you need to understand, but how people react to changes in the stock market.

3. Majoring in econ isn't the same thing as majoring in business

When I tell people I'm an econ major, they immediately say, "Oh, business?" And then I squeeze the urge to yell in their face that I said "ECON, ECON, NOT BUSINESS." Then they continue to say they know someone that majors in business, and then ask if I know the person. The annoyances then continue. Econ is the study of markets. Business is the study of being an entrepreneur. Totally two different things. Yes, they are co-dependent, but they are not the SAME thing.

4. Please don't rely on me to do your taxes or calculate tips at a restaurant

I hate it when everyone just stares at me when the check comes. I regret telling people I'm an econ major at that point. Because I don't know how to tell them I don't learn how to do taxes or calculate tips in class, that's what finance majors do. AGAIN, not the same thing.

5. I know most of us are Asian, but don't be racist

Don't come up to me, ask me what my major is, and automatically assume that I'm an international student. It really sucks. I have to then correct them and say I'm not, and then have them walk away.

6. One of the prime motives is because we want to learn game theory

How we play games is vital to econ majors, and it does involve heavy readings of game theory books.

7. We mostly won't do econ during grad school

Because grad school is a time where we want to actually exercise our skills, it isn't a time to dawdle and major in the same things as we did in undergrad. We're actually adults by then, and we most likely will resort to marketing, sales, or advertising agencies. At least I want to work at Instagram HQ someday.

8. Our classes never have curves

Finals season is always tough on us because it just means we gotta put in three times as much work to memorize formulas, theories, and math terms. Have mercy on our souls. Most professors aren't even nice enough to bring up our grades or give us extra credit.

9. The TAs are too busy with work to help us

Even they understand econ isn't a breeze, and as TAs, they can't really explain stuff to us that they don't understand either. In fact, most of the stuff we learn in class are self-taught, usually late nights with Starbucks coffee.

10.  We actually hate business majors

Because they have it easy. And they don't need math. Everything they do is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Not gonna lie, I love being an econ major. But some cons can be too much and it does teach me not to do econ in grad. One thing is for certain though, I love what I do and I don't regret choosing it.

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