JOURNEYS IN STEAM

The Aspire Artemis Foundation believes that when young women and girls have role models, they could become excited about a field in which they may not have otherwise considered. Thinking holistically allows and encourages young people to think outside of the box. As part of our series on promoting women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Culture, and Math (STEAM) fields, we are sharing stories of women who are blazing trails in these areas as well as of young women who aspire to pursue careers in those fields.

In short, we aim to increase the amount of women and girls in STEM subjects through highlighting the importance of the inclusion of arts and culture in order to spur innovation and creativity. STEAM is a great equalizer and has the capacity to provide opportunities for employment for young people across the globe. We believe that dispelling myths and misconceptions is essential in underlining that creativity and innovation can be used to increase their understanding of what is typically considered difficult subject areas. Substantial changes in mindset are key.

Below are inspiring accounts of some game changing, road shaping and trailblazing women on their journeys of struggles and success in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts & culture, and math (STEAM)

 
 
Aisha Jones   I probably have the #bestjobever. I work with an awesome team of scientists and institutional partners in developing innovative products, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals and functional foods from plants found on the beautiful island of Jamaica. Like our people and culture, our island’s biodiversity is like no other. At Biotech R&D Institute we use advanced biotechnological methods to validate the medicinal properties of these plants and then translate our research into products that are safe and effective.  As a young woman and mother of three #amazingdaughters, professional and personal life is a balancing act. Jamaica, relatively speaking, is well documented for female progression to the highest levels of leadership. But there is still much to be done, especially in the area of STEAM.  And although a path less travelled for women of African descent living on a small island, I sincerely believe that STEAM has given me an amazing opportunity to contribute to my family, my community, my country and hopefully - one day - the world. I am honoured to #payitforward and support women AND men as they chart their own journeys in STEAM.  Aisha Jones is the Executive Director of Biotech R&D Institute in Jamaica.  #STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen

Aisha Jones

I probably have the #bestjobever. I work with an awesome team of scientists and institutional partners in developing innovative products, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals and functional foods from plants found on the beautiful island of Jamaica. Like our people and culture, our island’s biodiversity is like no other. At Biotech R&D Institute we use advanced biotechnological methods to validate the medicinal properties of these plants and then translate our research into products that are safe and effective.

As a young woman and mother of three #amazingdaughters, professional and personal life is a balancing act. Jamaica, relatively speaking, is well documented for female progression to the highest levels of leadership. But there is still much to be done, especially in the area of STEAM.

And although a path less travelled for women of African descent living on a small island, I sincerely believe that STEAM has given me an amazing opportunity to contribute to my family, my community, my country and hopefully - one day - the world. I am honoured to #payitforward and support women AND men as they chart their own journeys in STEAM.

Aisha Jones is the Executive Director of Biotech R&D Institute in Jamaica.

#STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen

Wariara Waireri   My drive in the STEAM field is fuelled by the desire to create the next generation of young African scientists, engineers and innovators. Science, technology and innovation is paramount to transform Africa into a high-tech industrialised economy. I draw parallels with the economic boom experienced by the Asian Tigers in the mid-60s to early 90s. The success and transformation of those economies propels me to remain committed to using STEAM to solve global grand challenges and spur socio economic development. In short, there hasn’t been a time when I reconsidered my engagement in the field.  Over the past three and a half years, we have come across some remarkable students who have enrolled in our program. They have left a lasting impression on myself and the E-Lab team for the strides they continue to make in the STEAM field. For instance, one of our students Boniface Kyalo enrolled in our summer program in his penultimate year of high school. Back then, he had mapped out his career path in marketing and advertising. During the summer program, he undertook an Android and Python workshop, which sparked his interest in computer engineering. Today he is an undergrad student at LeHigh University, Pennsylvania pursuing a STEAM related degree. He has also been a Dalberg fellow. We have great stories like these, of students who we believe will make a great impact in our society. These young people are the ones that shape my determination.  As the co-founder or The Engineering Lab, I am the only female in our small team of 8. I am pleased to say that in my engagement with educational clients, within my team and with others - I have not experienced any gender discrimination. Simply because we thrive off of great ideas that create an impact, rather than focus on the gender of the originator of the idea. —Wariara Waireri  Wariara Waireri is the Co-founder of the Engineering Lab Africa  #STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #WeAreDoers #mentorship #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen

Wariara Waireri

My drive in the STEAM field is fuelled by the desire to create the next generation of young African scientists, engineers and innovators. Science, technology and innovation is paramount to transform Africa into a high-tech industrialised economy. I draw parallels with the economic boom experienced by the Asian Tigers in the mid-60s to early 90s. The success and transformation of those economies propels me to remain committed to using STEAM to solve global grand challenges and spur socio economic development. In short, there hasn’t been a time when I reconsidered my engagement in the field.

Over the past three and a half years, we have come across some remarkable students who have enrolled in our program. They have left a lasting impression on myself and the E-Lab team for the strides they continue to make in the STEAM field. For instance, one of our students Boniface Kyalo enrolled in our summer program in his penultimate year of high school. Back then, he had mapped out his career path in marketing and advertising. During the summer program, he undertook an Android and Python workshop, which sparked his interest in computer engineering. Today he is an undergrad student at LeHigh University, Pennsylvania pursuing a STEAM related degree. He has also been a Dalberg fellow. We have great stories like these, of students who we believe will make a great impact in our society. These young people are the ones that shape my determination.

As the co-founder or The Engineering Lab, I am the only female in our small team of 8. I am pleased to say that in my engagement with educational clients, within my team and with others - I have not experienced any gender discrimination. Simply because we thrive off of great ideas that create an impact, rather than focus on the gender of the originator of the idea. —Wariara Waireri

Wariara Waireri is the Co-founder of the Engineering Lab Africa

#STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #WeAreDoers #mentorship #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen

 
Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D.   "My most exciting position was being CTO of startup Partpic in Atlanta (where we created visual search algorithms for replacement parts) and getting acquired by Amazon." - Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D.  I was first introduced to engineering in a summer camp after 8th grade, thanks to my science teacher who recommended I attend, and I knew that was what I wanted to do from that point on. I was always excelling in math and interested in how things worked, not to mention I heard it was a lucrative business. I somewhat naively decided to major in computer engineering knowing it would be a fun journey yet having no idea how much hard work would be ahead of me.  As most women in engineering fields can relate to, I was usually the only female, African American, and sometimes American in my core classes. With lots of support and mentors, I was reminded that if I felt behind or at a disadvantage, I could always get to where I needed to be with perseverance, hard work, and determination. This often meant sleepless nights in the lab finishing projects.  Pursuing my Ph.D. at Georgia Tech was tough yet rewarding. For example, I failed my qualifier exam multiple times before passing, but I never gave up, secured a great support system, and decided I was going to endure the race. I had the opportunity to work at several companies and study abroad during my collegiate and graduate tenures, such as IBM, GE, and Delphi.  My most exciting position was being CTO of startup Partpic in Atlanta (where we created visual search algorithms for replacement parts) and getting acquired by Amazon. My latest heartfelt project is non-profit The Bean Path, where we provide free tech guidance and mentorship to people in the community.  Lastly, as advice to others, don't be afraid to take risks, you can always work to catch up if you're behind, and a well-balanced support system is essential.  Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D. is a Software Development Manager at Amazon and Founder of The Bean Path. She is also the Chief Technology Officer of Partpic, a startup which received over a million dollars in seed funding and was later acquired by Amazon.  #STEAMwork  #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen #partpic #amazon #thebeanpath

Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D.

"My most exciting position was being CTO of startup Partpic in Atlanta (where we created visual search algorithms for replacement parts) and getting acquired by Amazon." - Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D.

I was first introduced to engineering in a summer camp after 8th grade, thanks to my science teacher who recommended I attend, and I knew that was what I wanted to do from that point on. I was always excelling in math and interested in how things worked, not to mention I heard it was a lucrative business. I somewhat naively decided to major in computer engineering knowing it would be a fun journey yet having no idea how much hard work would be ahead of me.

As most women in engineering fields can relate to, I was usually the only female, African American, and sometimes American in my core classes. With lots of support and mentors, I was reminded that if I felt behind or at a disadvantage, I could always get to where I needed to be with perseverance, hard work, and determination. This often meant sleepless nights in the lab finishing projects.

Pursuing my Ph.D. at Georgia Tech was tough yet rewarding. For example, I failed my qualifier exam multiple times before passing, but I never gave up, secured a great support system, and decided I was going to endure the race. I had the opportunity to work at several companies and study abroad during my collegiate and graduate tenures, such as IBM, GE, and Delphi.

My most exciting position was being CTO of startup Partpic in Atlanta (where we created visual search algorithms for replacement parts) and getting acquired by Amazon. My latest heartfelt project is non-profit The Bean Path, where we provide free tech guidance and mentorship to people in the community.

Lastly, as advice to others, don't be afraid to take risks, you can always work to catch up if you're behind, and a well-balanced support system is essential.

Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D. is a Software Development Manager at Amazon and Founder of The Bean Path. She is also the Chief Technology Officer of Partpic, a startup which received over a million dollars in seed funding and was later acquired by Amazon.

#STEAMwork

#WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen #partpic #amazon #thebeanpath

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green   ”During my my freshman year at Alabama A&M University, I had changed my major three times. I was coming out of calculus, and a lady named Ayesha Fields, who was working on her Ph.D. in physics at the time, pulled me aside and basically said, ‘You must be pretty smart taking calculus as a freshman. I bet you can do physics.’ She told me that if I majored in physics, then I could probably go into any other major later, so I thought it was the perfect major for someone who was undecided. And like that, I became a physics major. She went on to become the 50th African-American female in the United States to get a Ph.D. in physics, and then I became the 76th.”  “After graduation, I went back home to St. Louis [MO], and my aunt, who raised me with my uncle, announced that she had cancer and that she would rather die on her own terms than experience the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. I was her caregiver. Seeing cancer eat her from the inside out changed me. Three months after she passed, my uncle was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and I was his caregiver while he went through chemo and radiation. Seeing him lose 150 pounds and all of his hair, that is when I really became filled with the conviction that there has to be a better way.”  “During a freshman internship at NASA, one of the scientists explained that satellites from outer space can tell whether a dime is face-up or face-down. And I said, “If a satellite can tell whether a dime is face-up or face-down, then why can’t we treat cancer in a specific region of the body?” That didn’t make sense to me as a physicist. So after my aunt died, I sketched out what I thought would be a good idea for using lasers to treat cancer. Then I went to grad school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to figure out how to use lasers to treat cancer. That was my sole objective. It was singular and focused, and that was all I wanted to do in life. That is when I knew that this was my passion, my purpose, my ministry — this was it.”  “When it relates to black women, I think that the images that we see portrayed on TV and in the media have historically not been the most positive. I think it’s important for little girls to see positive role models that look like them. And I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have people who mentored me. That really mattered. I know some people who weren’t encouraged, and when you don’t water a flower, it dies. “  “The most rewarding thing about my work was that little girls wrote black history month reports about me, portrayed me in their programs and said they want to be scientists like Dr. Green when they grow up.” - Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green  Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in physics, holds the distinction of being only the second African American woman and the fourth African American to receive a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). With more than ten years of interdisciplinary research experience, Dr. Green specializes in developing targeted cancer therapies using lasers and nanoparticles. Her expertise lies at the intersection of nanotechnology, immunotherapy, and precision medicine.  Notably, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green developed a cancer treatment that uses lasers and nanotechnology to kill cancer in mice in just 15 days after a single 10-minute treatment with no observable side effects. She founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation, to raise the funding for human clinical trials so this treatment can be made affordable for everyone. Dr. Green has intertwined her life’s purpose into the mission of the organization: to change the way cancer is treated and reduce the suffering of cancer patients by providing a treatment that is accessible, affordable, and effective. To learn more and support her efforts, visit OraLee.org and follow her on social media @DrHadiyahGreen.  #STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen #cancerresearch #cancercure #oralee #physics

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green

”During my my freshman year at Alabama A&M University, I had changed my major three times. I was coming out of calculus, and a lady named Ayesha Fields, who was working on her Ph.D. in physics at the time, pulled me aside and basically said, ‘You must be pretty smart taking calculus as a freshman. I bet you can do physics.’ She told me that if I majored in physics, then I could probably go into any other major later, so I thought it was the perfect major for someone who was undecided. And like that, I became a physics major. She went on to become the 50th African-American female in the United States to get a Ph.D. in physics, and then I became the 76th.”

“After graduation, I went back home to St. Louis [MO], and my aunt, who raised me with my uncle, announced that she had cancer and that she would rather die on her own terms than experience the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. I was her caregiver. Seeing cancer eat her from the inside out changed me. Three months after she passed, my uncle was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and I was his caregiver while he went through chemo and radiation. Seeing him lose 150 pounds and all of his hair, that is when I really became filled with the conviction that there has to be a better way.”

“During a freshman internship at NASA, one of the scientists explained that satellites from outer space can tell whether a dime is face-up or face-down. And I said, “If a satellite can tell whether a dime is face-up or face-down, then why can’t we treat cancer in a specific region of the body?” That didn’t make sense to me as a physicist. So after my aunt died, I sketched out what I thought would be a good idea for using lasers to treat cancer. Then I went to grad school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to figure out how to use lasers to treat cancer. That was my sole objective. It was singular and focused, and that was all I wanted to do in life. That is when I knew that this was my passion, my purpose, my ministry — this was it.”

“When it relates to black women, I think that the images that we see portrayed on TV and in the media have historically not been the most positive. I think it’s important for little girls to see positive role models that look like them. And I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have people who mentored me. That really mattered. I know some people who weren’t encouraged, and when you don’t water a flower, it dies. “

“The most rewarding thing about my work was that little girls wrote black history month reports about me, portrayed me in their programs and said they want to be scientists like Dr. Green when they grow up.” - Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in physics, holds the distinction of being only the second African American woman and the fourth African American to receive a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). With more than ten years of interdisciplinary research experience, Dr. Green specializes in developing targeted cancer therapies using lasers and nanoparticles. Her expertise lies at the intersection of nanotechnology, immunotherapy, and precision medicine.

Notably, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green developed a cancer treatment that uses lasers and nanotechnology to kill cancer in mice in just 15 days after a single 10-minute treatment with no observable side effects. She founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation, to raise the funding for human clinical trials so this treatment can be made affordable for everyone. Dr. Green has intertwined her life’s purpose into the mission of the organization: to change the way cancer is treated and reduce the suffering of cancer patients by providing a treatment that is accessible, affordable, and effective. To learn more and support her efforts, visit OraLee.org and follow her on social media @DrHadiyahGreen.

#STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen #cancerresearch #cancercure #oralee #physics

Keima Gardiner   Billowing clouds of dark smoke spewed from the Beetham Landfill, tainting the afternoon sky, and it was as I looked on in anguish, then at age 16, that I had my ‘eureka moment’ and resolved to pursue a career in environmental sciences. Little did I know, in years to come I would remain connected to that same landfill in my professional undertakings.  My engagement in the STEAM field began with a background in sciences at my alma mater, Bishop Anstey High School, in my home of Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, and eventual attainment of a World Rank Order National Scholarship for Geography at the Cambridge Advanced Level Exams. This afforded me the opportunity to pursue a double major in Environmental and Natural Resource Management and Geography at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine and York University in Canada on an exchange programme. At these institutions my passion for the field was evident as I received multiple awards for excellence in academic achievement, inclusion on the Dean’s Honour Roll and eventually graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with First Class honours.  Yet, in spite of these accomplishments, for months on end I agonised as despite unrelenting efforts, I was at home, unable to find employment and be a productive member of society due to a heavily saturated environmental job market in Trinidad and Tobago. Anyone in such a situation knows it is a constant battle to remain motivated and not be overcome by a broken spirit. Perhaps it was my passion and unwavering desire of wanting to assist with re-aligning development trajectories, like Trinidad and Tobago’s, towards a path of sustainability that kept me optimistic.  When my fortune eventually changed and I was offered a job at the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD) in Trinidad and Tobago, how grateful I was to not only be gainfully employed in my field, but to gain access to a wealth of information and experts and have the opportunity to represent the country at several regional fora. Shortly after, I continued along my quest by attaining a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science from Lund University in Sweden. This was also the entry point into the world of waste management as my final dissertation explored the possibility of bridging the nexus between waste and energy through biogas production at the Beetham Landfill.  I am currently employed as a Waste Management Specialist back at the EPPD, focusing on the domestic management of toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes and policy formulation, with appointments and representation on behalf of the government, country and in some instances the region, at a range of assemblies presided over from the national to international level.  Though still early in my professional career I have observed that often it is challenging to be regarded as equivalent to male counterparts, or be respected as a young, competent female professional. Many times it is easier to let the work speak for itself, although this too can be daunting when the tangible outcomes of your labour are slow to materialise.  My hope is that there would be more fitting recognition of women in the field, and many more would hold positions of power, thereby levelling the gender disparity while encouraging the generation of more female exemplars. I trust that these seemingly small steps would catalyse big changes in the future.— Keima Gardener  Keima Gardiner is a young scientist from Trinidad and Tobago.  #STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #WeAreDoers #mentorship #empowerfutureleaders

Keima Gardiner

Billowing clouds of dark smoke spewed from the Beetham Landfill, tainting the afternoon sky, and it was as I looked on in anguish, then at age 16, that I had my ‘eureka moment’ and resolved to pursue a career in environmental sciences. Little did I know, in years to come I would remain connected to that same landfill in my professional undertakings.

My engagement in the STEAM field began with a background in sciences at my alma mater, Bishop Anstey High School, in my home of Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, and eventual attainment of a World Rank Order National Scholarship for Geography at the Cambridge Advanced Level Exams. This afforded me the opportunity to pursue a double major in Environmental and Natural Resource Management and Geography at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine and York University in Canada on an exchange programme. At these institutions my passion for the field was evident as I received multiple awards for excellence in academic achievement, inclusion on the Dean’s Honour Roll and eventually graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with First Class honours.

Yet, in spite of these accomplishments, for months on end I agonised as despite unrelenting efforts, I was at home, unable to find employment and be a productive member of society due to a heavily saturated environmental job market in Trinidad and Tobago. Anyone in such a situation knows it is a constant battle to remain motivated and not be overcome by a broken spirit. Perhaps it was my passion and unwavering desire of wanting to assist with re-aligning development trajectories, like Trinidad and Tobago’s, towards a path of sustainability that kept me optimistic.

When my fortune eventually changed and I was offered a job at the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD) in Trinidad and Tobago, how grateful I was to not only be gainfully employed in my field, but to gain access to a wealth of information and experts and have the opportunity to represent the country at several regional fora. Shortly after, I continued along my quest by attaining a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science from Lund University in Sweden. This was also the entry point into the world of waste management as my final dissertation explored the possibility of bridging the nexus between waste and energy through biogas production at the Beetham Landfill.

I am currently employed as a Waste Management Specialist back at the EPPD, focusing on the domestic management of toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes and policy formulation, with appointments and representation on behalf of the government, country and in some instances the region, at a range of assemblies presided over from the national to international level.

Though still early in my professional career I have observed that often it is challenging to be regarded as equivalent to male counterparts, or be respected as a young, competent female professional. Many times it is easier to let the work speak for itself, although this too can be daunting when the tangible outcomes of your labour are slow to materialise.

My hope is that there would be more fitting recognition of women in the field, and many more would hold positions of power, thereby levelling the gender disparity while encouraging the generation of more female exemplars. I trust that these seemingly small steps would catalyse big changes in the future.— Keima Gardener

Keima Gardiner is a young scientist from Trinidad and Tobago.

#STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #WeAreDoers #mentorship #empowerfutureleaders

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. Nicole Owusua Caesar   Growing up outside of a metropolitan city where options seem endless may require more creativity to construct the path from where you are to where you think you’d like to be. But growing up in a less-bustling place gives us the “quiet space” and opportunity to decide what we would like our lives to look like on our own terms. I loved being outdoors, especially at the beach, but had no idea what kind of life could be supported by those preferences. This was in the mid-90s, pre-internet and pre-email, and the only careers I knew about were the ones that I witnessed around me. I did have my books, my adventure stories and creative narratives, that helped to stretch my mind far beyond what I could visibly see. I brought several lessons from this experience.  Lesson 1: Don’t downplay the importance of including your natural preferences in your decision-making process and read as much as you can for entertainment. I initially believed what I was told by my elders, that no one makes a living in Marine Biology here (in the Caribbean), and therefore pursued a more suitable and sensible Computer Science program instead. It was sound advice; study an emerging field with tremendous obvious opportunity and mobility. These lessons all come with difficult hurdles and decisions to take. My first hurdle was admitting that this chosen field and I were a mis-match. The second hurdle was deciding what I should do instead, despite the opinions of others. It’s no surprise that I found my way right back to Marine Biology. The third hurdle involved gaining access to training and funding in my new chosen field. This step required some hard work and research, aided now by (thankfully) the internet. Graduate school applications, studying for GRE exams and, believe it or not, my coursework in Computer science, resulted in my acceptance to a fully-funded Marine Science graduate program.  Lesson 2: If you are serious about pursuing your passion, take the time to adequately prepare and apply. Be sure to craft and present the strongest possible portfolio. Clearly demonstrate that your transferrable skills are an asset. In essence, take carefully considered and concrete action toward pursuing your passions. The fourth hurdle was overcoming culture shock. The other graduate students were so similar to each other and so very different from me. I joined a few clubs and networked with staff at all levels, resulting in several great friendships and the formation of my support group. These friends helped me through the tough times and smiled at me throughout my entire thesis defense, mainly by calming my nerves.  Lesson 3: Fight against any urge to isolate yourself. Participate generously in group activities with keywords that interest you, be open, smile and have an introductory chat with a wide cross-section of people. You will need a support group to survive the climb to where you’re going. The journey will always be difficult but you are shaped into a stronger and more well rounded person through overcoming the difficulties. The end of my Master’s degree brought the biggest surprise. Armed with technical training to pursue coral reef and coastal research, I realized that the coastal problems discussed in my thesis were symptoms of unsustainable inland activities. I also decided that beyond localized coastal research, I wanted the ability to contribute to sustainable coastal zone management projects at a regional level. To do this I would need to know about policy, environmental management, and gain an improved understanding of socio-nature interactions. I needed an additional course of study!  Lesson 4: As you progress along your path and your knowledge-base and field of experience expand, your goalpost will shift. Be flexible and seek advice and mentorship on a sensible way forward, or sideways, to your new goal. Your path through STEAM training, through any training, will consist of highs and lows. Prepare yourself by asking questions, seeking positive mentorship, surround yourself with persons who share similar aspirations, maintain a supportive network, be mindful to craft the strongest possible resume for yourself and demonstrate the value that you bring to the team, participate in multidisciplinary activities and volunteer to give presentations to build your confidence as a speaker. Don’t let insecurity or timidity encourage you to dim your light. You have a unique contribution to share with the world. Always remember that you are strong and capable!  Dr. Nicole Owusua Caesar is a young scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme.  #STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen

Dr. Nicole Owusua Caesar

Growing up outside of a metropolitan city where options seem endless may require more creativity to construct the path from where you are to where you think you’d like to be. But growing up in a less-bustling place gives us the “quiet space” and opportunity to decide what we would like our lives to look like on our own terms. I loved being outdoors, especially at the beach, but had no idea what kind of life could be supported by those preferences. This was in the mid-90s, pre-internet and pre-email, and the only careers I knew about were the ones that I witnessed around me. I did have my books, my adventure stories and creative narratives, that helped to stretch my mind far beyond what I could visibly see. I brought several lessons from this experience.

Lesson 1: Don’t downplay the importance of including your natural preferences in your decision-making process and read as much as you can for entertainment. I initially believed what I was told by my elders, that no one makes a living in Marine Biology here (in the Caribbean), and therefore pursued a more suitable and sensible Computer Science program instead. It was sound advice; study an emerging field with tremendous obvious opportunity and mobility. These lessons all come with difficult hurdles and decisions to take. My first hurdle was admitting that this chosen field and I were a mis-match. The second hurdle was deciding what I should do instead, despite the opinions of others. It’s no surprise that I found my way right back to Marine Biology. The third hurdle involved gaining access to training and funding in my new chosen field. This step required some hard work and research, aided now by (thankfully) the internet. Graduate school applications, studying for GRE exams and, believe it or not, my coursework in Computer science, resulted in my acceptance to a fully-funded Marine Science graduate program.

Lesson 2: If you are serious about pursuing your passion, take the time to adequately prepare and apply. Be sure to craft and present the strongest possible portfolio. Clearly demonstrate that your transferrable skills are an asset. In essence, take carefully considered and concrete action toward pursuing your passions. The fourth hurdle was overcoming culture shock. The other graduate students were so similar to each other and so very different from me. I joined a few clubs and networked with staff at all levels, resulting in several great friendships and the formation of my support group. These friends helped me through the tough times and smiled at me throughout my entire thesis defense, mainly by calming my nerves.

Lesson 3: Fight against any urge to isolate yourself. Participate generously in group activities with keywords that interest you, be open, smile and have an introductory chat with a wide cross-section of people. You will need a support group to survive the climb to where you’re going. The journey will always be difficult but you are shaped into a stronger and more well rounded person through overcoming the difficulties. The end of my Master’s degree brought the biggest surprise. Armed with technical training to pursue coral reef and coastal research, I realized that the coastal problems discussed in my thesis were symptoms of unsustainable inland activities. I also decided that beyond localized coastal research, I wanted the ability to contribute to sustainable coastal zone management projects at a regional level. To do this I would need to know about policy, environmental management, and gain an improved understanding of socio-nature interactions. I needed an additional course of study!

Lesson 4: As you progress along your path and your knowledge-base and field of experience expand, your goalpost will shift. Be flexible and seek advice and mentorship on a sensible way forward, or sideways, to your new goal. Your path through STEAM training, through any training, will consist of highs and lows. Prepare yourself by asking questions, seeking positive mentorship, surround yourself with persons who share similar aspirations, maintain a supportive network, be mindful to craft the strongest possible resume for yourself and demonstrate the value that you bring to the team, participate in multidisciplinary activities and volunteer to give presentations to build your confidence as a speaker. Don’t let insecurity or timidity encourage you to dim your light. You have a unique contribution to share with the world. Always remember that you are strong and capable!

Dr. Nicole Owusua Caesar is a young scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme.

#STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #empowerfutureleaders #trailblazers #science #engineering #womenintech #gamechanger #womeninscience #innovation #tech #technology #stem #stemeducation #stemgirls #womeninsteam #strongwomen #inspiringwomen

Anne T. Griffin   I've always been interested in building new technology in a collaborative role, but hadn't heard of careers like product management.  I studied engineering because I knew that if I understood how things worked, I would be able to build a career that allowed me to be creative, strategic, and technical all at the same time. However, one of my biggest struggles in engineering was in competing with people who were in the same classes as I was, but had been coding since they were 12 years old, when I was just learning. To make up for this, I leveraged going to professor’s office hours. I also focused substantial energy on building professional relationships with professors, as well as with my amazing peers who were also members of the National Society of Black Engineers at the University of Michigan.  In the work world, I have faced challenges as a woman of color, especially as it pertains to having my voice heard and being treated and paid equally. Having supportive family and friends, an excellent career coach, and learning how to level the playing field really helped me survive and thrive in a technical field.  My advice to young women of color is to build a strong support system as you're going through your journey. You will be challenged, but STEAM needs people who look and think like you now more than ever. You can do anything with determination and the right support.  Anne is a human and product manager, in that order, who studied Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. She is passionate about the human aspects of technology and building machine learning and AI products rooted in the realities of the human experience. She is also an Emerging Tech Correspondent for Tech2025, a platform and community for learning about, and discussing emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning and their impact on human beings. She is currently on the advisory board for Rutgers University's Big Data Certificate Program.  Anne contends that empathy at both a product and cultural level is a key value. Her current focus is to explore what "fairness" means at a product level and how teams can integrate empathy and awareness of the impact of bias into the creative and development processes. She has worked with major companies such as Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, American Express, Comcast, and Colgate-Palmolive.  #STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #WeAreDoers #mentorship #empowerfutureleaders

Anne T. Griffin

I've always been interested in building new technology in a collaborative role, but hadn't heard of careers like product management.

I studied engineering because I knew that if I understood how things worked, I would be able to build a career that allowed me to be creative, strategic, and technical all at the same time. However, one of my biggest struggles in engineering was in competing with people who were in the same classes as I was, but had been coding since they were 12 years old, when I was just learning. To make up for this, I leveraged going to professor’s office hours. I also focused substantial energy on building professional relationships with professors, as well as with my amazing peers who were also members of the National Society of Black Engineers at the University of Michigan.

In the work world, I have faced challenges as a woman of color, especially as it pertains to having my voice heard and being treated and paid equally. Having supportive family and friends, an excellent career coach, and learning how to level the playing field really helped me survive and thrive in a technical field.

My advice to young women of color is to build a strong support system as you're going through your journey. You will be challenged, but STEAM needs people who look and think like you now more than ever. You can do anything with determination and the right support.

Anne is a human and product manager, in that order, who studied Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. She is passionate about the human aspects of technology and building machine learning and AI products rooted in the realities of the human experience. She is also an Emerging Tech Correspondent for Tech2025, a platform and community for learning about, and discussing emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning and their impact on human beings. She is currently on the advisory board for Rutgers University's Big Data Certificate Program.

Anne contends that empathy at both a product and cultural level is a key value. Her current focus is to explore what "fairness" means at a product level and how teams can integrate empathy and awareness of the impact of bias into the creative and development processes. She has worked with major companies such as Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, American Express, Comcast, and Colgate-Palmolive.

#STEAMwork #WomenGainingSTEAM #AspireArtemis #changemakers #youth #womensempowerment #education #doers #WeAreDoers #mentorship #empowerfutureleaders