Monthly Archives

October 2012

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Barbara Holtz, Business Executive, MaterialsDesign

Dr. Barbara Holtz

Business Executive

MaterialsDesign



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I was very good at math and interested in technology from a very young age. I also grew up in East Germany where there was much less choice for studies in Social Sciences, Languages and Humanities—especially when you were not “aligned” with the system. Also: in East Germany women were much more assertive and studying a “male” subject was less of an exception.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
After studying physics and teaching at a University for a year I joined a company which makes scientific software. Instead of working in Development I started to work in Sales, selling technology and highly complex software to scientists is a very rewarding career for myself.

The most exciting project was a few years ago when a major chemical company decided to start a new research group and I worked very closely with the Manager of that group, not only eventually selling our technology but also placing a scientist as a contract research scientist with that group. Apart from that my sales role has given me the opportunity to travel to many different countries, meeting many different cool people along the way.

Role models/heroes:
Marie Curie as a scientist, Ginni Rometty as a Business Leader and Angela Merkel as a physicist turned Chancellor.

Why do you love working in STEM?
Technology is all around us, most people take it for granted: new materials, new ways of communications, so many things. So being in close contact to how those technologies come about is very exciting every time. As a Sales person I manage to get to go to many different companies and see what is happening in their R&D departments, I have learned about flavours and fragrances, about polymers for everyday materials, about catalysts and consumer packaged goods such as shampoos.

Understanding the challenges that are coming with the development of new materials with new properties and their production satisfies my neverending curiosity. To give an example: shampoo makers are challenged to develop new shamposs which slide out of the bottle easily, but then not off your hand—we have all been in the shower and the shampoo does not behave as we would like it to—the requirements for those material properties are usually conflicting and never cease to amaze me. It makes me look at the world in a different way every day.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t just think of STEM as lab work, there are a million other jobs out there, which require the analytical skills which come with a STEM education. Marketing, Business, Support and Training jobs are just as important to scientists and require STEMinists. Those jobs can be fitted around normal family life as well. Later in a career there are possibilities to turn years of experience into a freelance consulting job or on the way there is a chance to start your own business, who knows….

Favorite website/app:
LinkedIn and Twitter.

Website: LinkedIn
Twitter: @holtzbarbara

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Michelle Tona Roberts, Elementary Engineering Teacher and Technology Specialist

Michelle Tona Roberts

Elementary Engineering Teacher and Technology Specialist – I’m also my school’s TSA (Technology Student Association) advisor

Braden River Elementary School in Manatee County Florida



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I’ve loved science as far back as I can remember. I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, but changed majors a few times in college (hitting every one of the science majors for a semester or two), eventually to end up as an elementary education major deciding that I could influence students with my enthusiasm and passion for science.

After I graduated from college with my teaching degree, I did a 3 day workshop for teachers called “I3: Innovation, Inquiry, and Invention”. It was all on “Engineering By Design” and using inquiry-based problem-solving to drive instruction. It was an overview of curriculum from the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (iteea.org) designed to teach engineering problem solving to elementary and middle school students.

This was one of the best workshops I have ever been to. It was great, we were put into teams and got to make a miniature marshmallow flinging catapult, a windmill that turned when placed in front of a fan and had to bring up a cup full of washers, chocolate candy (for manufacturing—had to design the packaging and do a commercial to advertise our chocolates, as well), and straw rockets that launched from a straw rocket launcher from PITSCO. I was hooked! I HAD to have this program at my school and HAD to be the teacher.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project I have worked on is my current teacher assignment as an elementary engineering teacher because I teach students how to problem solve, think critically, use the engineering design process, and inspire curiosity. The coolest part is watching the students grow and seeing their wonder unfold into new “discoveries.”

We now have nine elementary engineering teachers in my school district and are writing our own curriculum for teaching units on the Engineering Design Process, Simple Machines, Transportation, Construction and Structures, Innovation and Inventions, Force and Motion, Manufacturing, Robotics, Power and Energy, and Technical Systems and Toys. I have a very cool job—where else can you get paid to play with Legos, K’Nex, and robots, and teach children to use these in problem solving?!

Role models/heroes:
Albert Einstein, Sally Ride, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell, Maria Mitchell, Lillian Gilbreath, Dorothy Crowfoot-Hodgkin, Billy Nye, Robert Krampf, Kari Byron, my dad (the smartest man I have ever known), my husband, and my aunt Peggy (a doctor).

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in the STEM field because it is such a fascinating area, and one I feel we need to concentrate on more. STEM is the application of the basic language arts and math subjects in school. If we can captivate a student’s sense of wonder (not hard) with science and technology, then the reading, writing, and math can be applied to these areas and will make sense to them. It also gives them a real sense of purpose for using language arts and math in their lives. Technology (high-tech, that is) is a part of our everyday lives, and as we go on, it’s only going to become more indoctrinated in our lives.

I live in a geeky household where each of us have our own computers and handheld devices, a wonderful mixture of Windows, Mac, and Linux (and now Android). Our favorite shows are “How It’s Made,” “How Do They Do It,” and “Myth Busters” (all from the Science Channel). As soon as my own children learned to read, they fell in love with the non-fiction section (500-600s) in the library (in my youngest’s case, it was his reason to learn how to read!). And, the question is, why do I love working in STEM? That’s easy, it’s because it’s so much a part of who I am as a person.

Advice for future STEMinists?
My father always told me that I could do anything I wanted to. It was through his influence and encouragement that I am the person I am today. It does not matter whether you are a girl or a boy, you can do anything you set your mind to do. Never give up on your passion and your dreams. Whatever interests you, whatever you find fascinating, let that guide you, and never stop pursuing it.

Favorite website/app:
Engineering – Go For It ; Robert Krampf’s the Happy Scientist ; Mythbusters ; and of course, NASA! (and NASA Science – or any of the NASA sites). Also, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a very cool interactive game that teaches about Simple Machines.

Website: BRE Engineering, Tona’s Tidings Blog
Twitter: @sonicgeekette

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Leah Ridgway, Lecturer in Electrical Engineering & Electronics

Dr. Leah Ridgway

Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and Electronics

University of Liverpool, UK



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I was a 4 year-old girl who knew what an axle was! I’ve always been fascinated by why things work and love the buzz when you understand that why. Now my job is to inspire and help student engineers understand the world around us and teach them the tools they need to solve the world’s problems.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I’m keen on finding new ways to use technology to support the learning of a diverse student group. I did a series of videos to support my lectures for students to watch in their own time. I had no idea if it would be successful and I had to get over hearing the sound of my own voice! The feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive; they liked studying at a time which suited them and it stimulated discussions about the content outside of class.

Role models/heroes:
You may laugh, but my role model growing up was a fictional character: Jadzia Dax from Star Trek DS9! She’s a strong female character with an analytical mind and has an incredibly sex-positive attitude.

Part of the reason I don’t have a role model is that I don’t think there were many notable people who I felt I could relate to in any way, thankfully I think this is changing.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because it’s interesting. No two days are the same and there are always new problems to be solved. There’s a lot of creativity involved which I don’t think most people realise until they talk to us.

Advice for future STEMinists?
I wish someone had told me that you don’t have to give up being feminine to succeed in a male dominated industry and don’t let anyone try and bully you into it (sometimes women are just as bad as men for this). I describe myself as a glamorous tomboy in a dress!

Favorite website/app:
I’m absolutely addicted to Twitter. It’s my personalised window into what’s happening in the world around me where I can hear things apart from the mainstream news. I’d also be lost without Dropbox which I use to easily sync files across multiple devices.

Twitter: @verdantstar

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Inga Parker La Puma, Postdoc, Forest Landscape Ecology

Inga Parker La Puma

Postdoc, Forest Landscape Ecology

University of Wisconsin, Madison



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I became a scientist via my environmentalist leanings. As an undergrad in Geography I worked at an outdoor education center where I led nature walks and taught cooperative education outdoors. I gained a deeper appreciation for the tenuous state of the environment while there and was driven to learn more about how the landscape was changing. I have been able to use my spatial analysis and fieldwork skills to share that information with others in ways that are useful to managers and to larger climate challenges.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I would say the project I worked on for my Master’s was in the “coolest” location: the North Slope of Alaska. I spent 3 summers from May through October at Toolik field station studying how soil warming and lengthening the summer season affects the carbon flux and reflectance of tundra plants. It was a close scientific community in a wild place with caribou loping past my field site and several bears encountered on hikes in the Brooks Range.

Role models/heroes:
One of my role models is Monica Turner. She is a prolific landscape ecologist who has contributed SO much to the field.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I feel that I’m actually working towards a purpose, which is the understanding of the natural world and how we rely on ecosystem services of all kinds; including carbon sequestration.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t get discouraged by all the dudes. They aren’t smarter than you and they have plenty of life events that affect their productivity just as you do. The exception of course is having kids. It is easier now to have a family after you get tenure (hopefully that will be more flexible in the future), so if you think you are interested in an academic STEM career, don’t dilly dally too long in your 20s! Get advice and GO FOR IT so you are at that stage at the right time in your life!

Favorite website/app:
Twitter is my favorite lately; it is really helping me keep up with the latest research in my field. Evernote may be my next new favorite research tool!

Twitter: @IngaPLaPuma

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Flor Hernandez, Civil Engineering Student

Flor Hernandez

Civil Engineering Student

California State University, Los Angeles



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I grew up with a father who was in the construction field and I was always intrigued by the things that he would share regarding the construction and remodeling of buildings. I also knew it was one of the more challenging careers and I am the type of person who likes challenges.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
One of the coolest projects I have worked on has been the Concrete Canoe we build every year for the ASCE Conference. It has been one of the coolest because the project itself is definitely a challenge, being able to see the whole process and the outcome is something amazing. While you are working so hard on the project you also get to build great relationships with your team. In my previous lab I worked on a high-throughput screen of FDA-approved drugs to look for activity that would be beneficial to DMD. I got to learn about the technology used for high-throughput screening and the project had very direct clinical relevance.

Role models/heroes:
I look up to any female in STEM but in particular one of my role models is Jane Chmielinski who has climbed her way up to be the Chief Operating Officer for AECOM Technology Corporation.

Why do you love working in STEM?
Working with STEM is different than other careers. There is always something new to learn and in the end all we want is to make everyone’s lives better.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t give up. Nobody said it would be easy but it definitely is worth it!

Twitter: @F10r_H

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Catherine Moorwood, Postdoctoral Researcher, Molecular Biology

Catherine Moorwood

Postdoctoral Researcher, Molecular Biology

University of Pennsylvania



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I always enjoyed science and maths at school, but what inspired me to go into medical research was a desire to help people like my brother Michael, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
In my previous lab I worked on a high-throughput screen of FDA-approved drugs to look for activity that would be beneficial to DMD. I got to learn about the technology used for high-throughput screening and the project had very direct clinical relevance.

Role models/heroes:
My current mentor, Elisabeth Barton, is an amazing role model. She’s an incredible scientist who seems to really love what she does, and still manages to enjoy life outside of work too.

Why do you love working in STEM?
It’s a pretty amazing thing to go to work every day and have the chance to discover something completely new. I never stop learning, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that my work can make a difference for people.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Mentoring is really important. Take every opportunity to meet other women scientists, like joining professional societies such as the Association for Women in Science. Find people you can relate to and learn from them. And stay connected to your passion for STEM.

Favorite website/app:
I use Scoop.it to collect articles I’m interested in and share them via LinkedIn and Twitter.

Website: http://www.scoop.it/t/moorwood-on-muscle
Twitter: @moorwood

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Amanda Loftis, Asst. Professor of Infectious Diseases

Amanda Loftis

Asst. Professor of Infectious Diseases

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts (eastern Caribbean)



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
As a child, I had teachers who believed I didn’t need to know math or science because I was a girl. Luckily, I had strong family support from parents who did not believe in gender roles. My parents supported my right to equal education and transferred me to another school district, where I had better opportunities to pursue math and science. I was fascinated by biology and wanted to be a veterinarian.

I was first introduced to research during an advanced biology course in high school, and I discovered the challenges and puzzle-solving involved in research. I still became a veterinarian, but I took my training a few steps further and added a research PhD. My specialty is emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases, working with pathogens that spread between species and affect both human and animal health.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project I ever worked on was the discovery of a new tick-transmitted pathogen in the USA, “Panola Mountain Ehrlichia”. We found the bacterium by pure serendipity, an unexpected discovery. We showed that the disease is found throughout the eastern USA and that it infects people, as well as white-tailed deer and goats.

Now, a few years later, scientists at several institutions, including myself, are working to develop diagnostic tools and on research to better understand its impact on both human and animal health. In today’s world, discovering an unknown, endemic, pathogen in a developed country like the USA is pretty unusual.

Role models/heroes:
My research mentor throughout my undergraduate and professional programs, Dr. William Davis (Washington State University) is, to this day, my role model. He encouraged me to grow as a scientist, trained me out of my fear of public speaking, and taught me about both the strategy and the philosophy to manage a research program successfully. I did not understand the value of many of those lessons until years later, but they were critical elements of my professional development. I continually strive to be as good a mentor for the students who join my program.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love the challenge of working on the edge of what we know about the world around us, and I feel that my work contributes meaningfully to our understanding of—and therefore our ability to improve—both human and animal health. I couldn’t do work like this in any other field except biomedical research.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Support from family, friends, and mentors can be incredibly important, especially when you are developing the training and skills you will need to succeed in your field. A good mentor will teach you skills that you are not even aware you need to learn. I don’t think your mentor necessarily has to be a woman, just someone who sees your potential, helps you identify opportunities for growth, and encourages you to go for them!

Favorite website/app:
Facebook is my main way to connect with friends, family, and colleagues. Living in a small island nation means being cut off from the world at large, and the ability to remain connected, follow friends’ life updates, and share pictures is vital to maintaining a healthy social network.

Twitter: @doclof

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Christine Clarke, Research Associate, Microbiology

Christine Clarke

Research Associate (Microbiology)

Taxon Biosciences



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
Both of my parents are scientifically-minded – my father has a degree in biochemistry and my mother has hers in kinesiology – and they did a good job of instilling my siblings and me with a sense of wonder about the natural world. Not only a sense of wonder, but a sense that there were answers: answers that we were equipped to find ourselves. Equipped with those mental tools, it became irresistible to try and find the answers.

As soon as I took high school biology, everything clicked with me and I knew that was what I had to study. Nothing was more inspiring or more meaningful to me, so I knew it was my calling. Luckily, biology is still as exciting and fulfilling to me today as it was when I was a child.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project that I have worked on has been a microbial ecology study. Science has become very interdisciplinary these days, so don’t be surprised when I say that we were using next gen genetic sequencing techniques to study microbes on the community-level (rather than on the individual species level) in order to better understand the geology of the area. Microbes have an ecology going on just like the traditional “a lion eats a zebra” example.

We used the microbial community to sense what was happening in the environment both chemically and geologically, because geology affects microbes while microbes affect geology. Using next gen sequencing, we were able to identify certain core “consortia” of microbes which always seemed to co-occur (they all seemed to need each other to survive). Using targeted isolation techniques, we were able to find and grow all the species in one such consortium under laboratory conditions, and then study their metabolisms both individually and as a community. We were able to produce a carbon-flow model of what happens in the environment, and how those microbes interacted to produce some of the mineralization we observe and by-products they produce.

The study of biogeochemistry is becoming very important, especially now as we learn more about things like the nitrogen cycle and the methane cycle, both of which are driven by microbes but have global-scale effects.

Role models/heroes:
Melissa Jurica is one of my major role models. She is a brilliant woman who has been able to start a family and stay in academia – no small feat. It is true that in the USA, STEM women tend to leave academia for industry if they want to have a family and/or children because industry is more accommodating towards maternity. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.

A few more of my heroes include: Dorothy Hodgkin because, really, X-ray crystallography is intense and never fails to impress me; Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins for their work in evolutionary biology and for helping the public and non-specialists to understand and conceptualize the major points of their field; Margret Sanger for helping forward birth control advocacy and sexual rights; and Betty Dodson for helping women accept and embrace their sexuality.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because it gives me a chance to explore the world around me and make discoveries about life itself. It is a very gratifying experience to contribute to new data and discoveries, and I think it gives me a healthy sense of self-worth and pride in my abilities. When months or years of work suddenly starts to fall into place and you start making sense of all your meticulously-collected data: that is the greatest feeling in the world. I also love that it forces me to keep learning new things every day, and that I am always finding new things that amaze me or blow my mind.

Advice for future STEMinists?
If you get bogged down by the day-to-day drudgery of STEM work, take some time to step back and look at the big picture and remind yourself of the big questions you are asking. Sometimes STEM work can feel tedious, especially since there are times when you must focus so much of your brainpower onto a tiny (yet crucial) portion of your work, and that can get both mechanically tedious and mentally exhausting. If you find yourself in that situation, taking a short break to reflect on these things will give you a better perspective, and instead of feeling stuck you can recognize that your work has not been mundane. Much of the progress in STEM builds up slowly over time, which is why looking back is helpful.

I will also say that you should really work on building a solid foundation in math and computers. This might seem obvious but a lot of people (men and women) shy away from math and computers, especially in some of the biological disciplines. However, those fields actually do use a lot of math and computers on a daily basis, so if you beef up your mathematics, you will stand out as being very valuable in your field. Don’t assume that you won’t need mastery of math or computers for any STEM job you want to pursue. I can guarantee that no matter which field you want to work in, both skills will help you succeed and advance. For example: yes, an ecologist needs to be very good at ecology, but everybody else working in ecology does amazing ecology work as well – that’s why they’re in that field. But if you’ve also taken a class in programming, are familiar in Linux, and are not scared of using mathematics; you’ve got an edge. You’re valuable.

Favorite website/app:
I have two apps that are very impressive and absolutely indispensable:

Sigma-Aldrich’s “Substructure Search” is invaluable to me, and also free to use (they want it to help you buy chemicals from them). They have brought together MarvinSketch, JME Molecular Editor, and ChemDraw (all amazing) in one applet. You can “sketch” an organic molecule, and then have the applet calculate the IUPAC name for what you have just drawn (and vise-versa). IUPAC naming is a good method of standardization, but it can get tricky.

Common names are easier to remember, but are not standardized (and often result in 10 different names for one molecule). This does lead to trouble sometimes! That’s why we all remember our O-Chem professors giving extra credit problems on our homework with a drawing of a very huge and ugly molecule, with the deceptively simple instructions “Give the IUPAC name for this molecule.”

I use this applet for my work all the time, but I can imagine that if I had this as a child, I would have loved to spend hours drawing the weirdest molecules possible, trying to “stump the program.” I think this is a natural tendency kids have, but in the process they would still learn a lot about molecular naming and be entertained by discovering that this atrocity they have just drawn actually has a name.

The ARB Project is another free program that I could not do without. If you have a Linux computer, you can download it and start making phylogenetic trees (the image on their homepage is a good example) at home. You don’t even need to generate your own genetic data to get started, you can download some reference trees of genetic sequences submitted by other scientists from http://www.arb-silva.de/and then start playing with them in ARB. You learn a lot about taxonomy and phylogeny just by playing around with trees in ARB.

Website and Twitter: My personal Twitter account is @Steenaire, and my personal website is www.certainly-strange.com. I mostly blog about personal things or post silly doodles, but recently I have decided to try my hand at science reporting that is accessible and interesting to non-specialists. After reading far too many “evolutionary narratives” in popular science reporting, I decided that if I really wanted anything to change then I should be contributing.

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Carla Fair-Wright, Software Engineer

Carla Fair

Carla Fair-Wright

Software Engineer

Optimal Consulting LLC



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My high school math teacher Sister Donna Blaul. She always encouraged me to do my best and be authentic. Unfortunately, her life was ended by a tragic event before I could thank her. However, I recently found out about a scholarship that was created in her name.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I was a rebel growing up. I joined the military after a year in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University against family wishes. While I was on active duty in the US Air Force, I worked in war planning. It was extremely complex work and very challenging. Every day was different. I don’t miss the pace, but do sometimes miss the challenges.

Role models/heroes:
Betty Shanahan, executive director and CEO for the Society of Women Engineers; Madeleine Albright – First woman to become the United States Secretary of State; Dr. Thelma Estrin – a pioneer in biomedical engineering.

Why do you love working in STEM?
The career opportunities are limitless. You are bound by your imagination and your will to succeed. Being a Software Engineer and Project Manager, I get to work on all types of projects across every industry. My current software project is for one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the US. Prior to taking on this project, I worked for British Petroleum on the Spill Response effort in the Gulf.

Before that, I worked in the automotive industry. I could never be the kind of person that worked for 30 years for a company doing the same job. Owning my own company, seemed like a natural choice for me. I encourage my daughter, who is an actress, to be independent and fiscally aware. At sixteen, she is starting a small theatre workshop for elementary children. I already applied for a spot on the popular TV show Shark Tank for her to pitch her business!

Advice for future STEMinists?
Heed the lesson of Rosalind Franklin. Franklin discovered the helical structure of DNA. Nobel Prize winners Watson and Crick admitted they could not have discovered the structure of DNA without her work. But, Rosalind preferred to work alone and lives in the shadows of history. To be successful and reach your full potential you must learn to work with others. To quote Ursula Burns, mechanical engineer and now CEO of Xerox, “If You Don’t Transform, You’re Stuck.”

Favorite website/app: Twitter

Website: Technological Women Blog
Twitter: @TeknoWomen

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Maria McKavanagh, Research Associate, Wireless Sensor Networks

Maria McKavanagh

Post Graduate Research Associate, Wireless Sensor Networks

The University of Manchester, UK



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I have always loved mathematics and physics from a very young age. I liked how logical they were and how I could always see why I was right or wrong. My brother, who is now a software architect, gave me a book called “Java in 24 hours” when I was 12. This was my first taste of computer programming and I loved it!

When I went to grammar school there were many “Insight into Engineering” days and I went to all of them. My love for problem solving just grew and grew and so a degree in Electronic Systems Engineering was an obvious choice.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My coolest project would have to be the one I worked on in the third year of my degree. It was a colour reader for blind and visually impaired people. I have always wanted to help people, and teachers at school suggested I become a doctor, however the sight of blood makes me faint so it didn’t seem like the career choice for me!

The outcome of this project was something that had the potential to seriously improve the quality of some people’s lives and I thrived on that. The realisation that being an engineer still allowed me to help people reaffirmed that it was the career for me.

Role models/heroes:
I watched a TED talk a short time ago by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. It was called “Why we have too few women leaders.” I found it extremely inspiring. I would also have to say my mother. Despite never having worked as one, she is one of the best engineers I know. She can solve any problem and I’ve seen her fix everything from a shelf to an extractor fan. She is determined and will stop at nothing to solve a problem.

One day I witnessed her saw off a door frame to move a piano from one room to another, and have it glued back on and repainted before my father got home! When she decides she is going to do something, she will always find a way, no matter how long it takes to learn how to do it—I definitely have her to thank for where I am today.

Why do you love working in STEM?
Working in STEM makes me feel like I can change the world! That may sound silly, but in my research I may just discover something that no one else has before. Every single day is different which keeps me motivated. Working in a university means I cross paths with some of the best in the field of electrical engineering and I find them fascinating to talk to.

Advice for future STEMinists?
If you are considering a STEM career DO IT! It is challenging but there are big rewards. For those embarking on their career I would say work hard and have confidence in your ability. STEM is still male dominated which can sometimes be a bit intimidating, particularly early in your career, but women bring skills to STEM that men can’t.

We are lateral thinkers which means we can sometimes come up with very innovative solutions to problems. I have heard many men in the profession say that women bring a whole new aspect to their team and so industry is crying out for more of us to join.

Favorite website/app:
I love Appy-geek. It is an app for Android and iPhone which gives you all the latest technology news in one place. It has an alerts feature so when an article on something you are interested in becomes available you know about it straight away.

Twitter: @IgorinaJP