StuyHacks, BitxBit Camp
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
STEM has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, but the biggest catalyst for my interest in pursuing a career in the field came in middle school, when I became involved in the Technology Student Association. From creating video games and websites to designing products for manufacturing and interview skills, I’ve learned so much from the organization and its annual competitions.
There is no end to the possibilities that you can pursue with a career in STEM – from research to advocacy to education to numerous other choices, the problem solving and critical thinking skills that STEM equips you are useful in nearly every possible sector. The support that the STEM community has for one another is also an incredible part of my life, and one of the biggest perks of being involved in STEM.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
At DCHacks 2016, my team and I created an automated voice-to-text notetaking app. It was my first time working with Microsoft APIs, and most of the conference prizes had been funded by Microsoft, so we were immensely interested incorporated some of the technology into our application. The majority of the mentors were also surprised at our task, as they hadn’t been able to make a similar app at another hackathon.
We managed to stay up for most of the 24 hours building the backend for the site, which required reverse-engineering parts of the API in order to understand their usage and then manipulating it further in order to fit into the framework of our web app. We finally managed to create the prototype for what would become our iOS app that we submitted to the competition, which won Honorable Mention from the Microsoft staff for incorporating their date-time API, voice-to-text API, and languages pack.
Role models and heroes:
Hedy Lamarr has always been one of my favorite actresses, but my respect for her grew immensely upon the discovery that she was also an accomplished inventor. Her drive and her innovation to create numerous inventions throughout her lifetime despite the stigma against women in STEM and actresses is incredibly admirable, and I’ve always looked up to how she has defied every Hollywood deeming women as unintelligent and incapable of pursuing science and research.
Why do you loving working in STEM?
It’s so empowering to be able to look at a real world problem and think to yourself, “I know how I can solve that.” Being able to use my own skills to solve nearly any problem I encounter is one of the gifts that being involved in STEM has given me.
Even more so, being able to tackle some of the world’s greatest problems, such as renewable energy and food waste through experiments and research is something that not everyone can say they do on a daily basis. I also love how discoveries are always being made every day, and how you never know when the next big breakthrough will be – maybe it might come from you!
Advice for future STEMinists?
Look for a mentor who can help you succeed. I would not have gotten all of the opportunities I’ve received in my life had I not had the help of a number of mentors. From my elementary school teacher Kathy Bradley and math teacher Caren MacConnell to my research mentors at NYU, I’ve learned so much just from being in their company and working alongside them. Having a mentor to support you through hardships and successes is incredibly rewarding, and it’s probably one of the reasons why I fell in love with the STEM field in the first place.
Favorite website or app:
I love Google Calendar. I use it to organize nearly every aspect of my life, and its ability to track to-do lists and agendas has saved me on a number of occasions. From planning events to booking meetups and calls, it’s an incredibly versatile and useful tool.