The number of STEM jobs is increasing—but the number of women entering these fields isn’t. We’re on a mission to change that.
Studies have shown that women are more likely to pursue and succeed in STEM fields if they see examples of women who already have. That’s why we are collaborating with AT&T, through the AT&T Aspire initiative, to send three young women on the road to seek out and interview exemplary women who are breaking down barriers in their fields—and making world-changing breakthroughs along the way.
Our three road-trippers, Elicia, Ariel, and Regina, come from very different backgrounds and concentrations—engineering, medicine, and technology, respectively—but they’re all united in their desire to use STEM to create a better world for their communities, and for future generations.
Let’s meet the team!
Electrical Engineering & Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
Elicia knew she should be an electrical engineer before she even knew what that was. As a kid, if something plugged into a wall, she was taking it apart to find out how it worked. That curiosity drove her toward other challenges—like finishing the international baccalaureate program at her high school, and being selected as one of only 35 students chosen to receive the prestigious Aspirations in Computing Award from the National Center for Women and Information Technology —even when her home life, which saw her working to help support herself by sixth grade, was tumultuous. But after her freshman year at Notre Dame, she needed to step back for a second; so she took a year off to teach programming to underserved kids in her hometown. It was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. Seeing her upbringing from the outside has given her new perspective: she’s realized that she’s stronger than she gives herself credit for. Now more than ever, she knows that engineering and helping others are what she’s most passionate about, but she’s not sure how she wants to apply them yet. While she explores, she wants to gain as many new experiences as she can—each one comes with a new lesson that better prepares her to push the culture around STEM forward.
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Biomedical Research, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
The first time Ariel realized she could be a leader was at age 12. Her own goal to become healthier catalyzed healthier lifestyles for others in her family; then she spent a summer volunteering at a medical center. The spark she felt from leading and helping others only fed her growing interest in science. But the challenge of science classes in college shook her confidence. She found the inspiration she needed to keep going in a summer research program with a mentor who was both brilliant and demanding. Ariel worked harder than she ever had before. By the end, she knew medical research was one of the most challenging careers in science, but the ever-changing nature of the work, and the ability to make a difference in the lives of so many, is what she thrives on. And after seeing the positive impact her mentor had made on her life, she decided to pay it forward by volunteering and leading classes at her local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of America. Now she’s getting her master’s in biomedical research and looking for what’s next, but mostly, she wants to inspire other women and underrepresented groups in STEM to go after those careers, too.
Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania
The thing that Regina loves about computer science is its openness. Every piece of code is a puzzle to solve, but there are many ways to the same endpoint—and the solution is never final. Her future still feels open, too. She’s loved programming since as early as high school, when she attended a Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program (which was also funded by AT&T through AT&T Aspire)…but she also loves drawing, painting, writing, photography, and more. In some ways, she feels certain about pursuing computer science—but then, she has so many interests and so much she wants to try before she commits to any one thing. She’s already fighting the stereotypes of what a programmer looks like, even with her own family, so she’s hesitant to admit that she’s not sure if programming is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. But she finds inspiration in stories from people around her who have found something they’re really good at—or truly, nerdily passionate about. Have they found something that aligns with all of the things they’re interested in? What does that mean for everything she’s interested in? Once shy, she now wants to seek out other women’s paths to careers in STEM and learn about all the misdirections, re-dos, and failures that led them to write, and then rewrite their stories.
We can’t wait to see what these three will learn and accomplish out on the road! To follow their journey, make sure to check out #ABalancedEquation on Twitter and Instagram.