Storyteller: Vanessa (she/her), 26, New York
“I've had a relationship with STEM that's been like, constantly being like pulled away from me from like middle school high school. When I was changing my major in college, I felt like in middle school we had, we had laptops, we had Mac books out there. And we did our freshman year. So I got so tech savvy, that it just became common sense to me. But then as far as like pursuing technology, and sciences, mathematics, there wasn't a lot of encouragement, I think that's the key factor is just having encouragement and enthusiasm about STEM subjects. Because the teachers in middle school, they were more concerned with just the children behaving just they set a tone of like, you know, before anybody could misbehave, they were just kind of like, this is what this is about, we have to just sit down and be quiet and listen, but it wasn't about the actual subject. But then when I came into high school, we had one teacher, my first day of general science class, he had us doodle scientists. And then he talked about the image, he said, you know, most of you have some old white guy in lab coats. But really, you could have just written a self portrait, and I thought that was really cool. And then when I had a math class, I had algebra freshman year, or algebra. That teacher was really passionate about math, and like physics and things like that. Just his mood about the subject just made me feel encouraged. and encouragement alone made me an expert at it, I became really good at math and physics. And I wanted to just make my life about that. I guess as I moved on to my next math and science classes, I didn't have the same teacher who was passionate, so it just kind of died out. And then I guess it just kind of died out because of that I just lost enthusiastic mentors. But the passion was like still in me, I still was like, looking into when I got to college, I was looking for astronomy classes and physics classes. But it just wasn't the same. I ended up in philosophy because I could still write about epistemology, which is like epistemology is how to navigate reasoning scientifically and mathematically. So I got to write a lot about that and still think about that. And I think that's a big foundational factor in the STEM field, even though philosophy is more considered creative. It really is like both data and like STEM to me. I still have like, passions about like environmental science and like botany, chemistry. We had lots of fun in chemistry in high school and it just kind of got away from me I just forgot about it when I went to college, but I still want to revive it sometimes I still want to do something with my profession with like plants and the sciences like that, so. Yeah, just the enthusiasm of it isn't around as much as it could be I guess. I think about that. Thank you.”
And then he talked about the image, he said, you know, most of you have some old white guy in lab coats. But really, you could have just written a self portrait, and I thought that was really cool.