How would you describe your college experience?
I had a very positive college experience that was greatly enhanced by the extracurricular activities that I took part in. I really enjoyed going to class and learning about chemistry, which was my major, but I also learned a lot of valuable life lessons outside of the classroom. By being active in campus organizations, taking part in a research project, and playing intramural sports, I learned a lot about leadership and found out more about what I wanted to achieve in my life.
When did you know that you wanted to major in a STEM discipline?
I decided in high school that I wanted to go into a STEM discipline after taking an anatomy and physiology class. After that class I knew that I wanted to go into a medically related field.
What is the most rewarding thing that you do in your job as a STEM professional?
Right now as an optometry school, it is extremely rewarding to know that the skills that I am learning as a first year student, will be used very soon to help my patients have the best vision possible. Learning and practicing my optometric skills with my fellow classmates is my favorite and most rewarding part of optometry school.
What would you tell a middle or high school girlabout careers in STEM?
Going after a career in STEM, is not always the easiest path to take. They require a lot of hard work and dedication, but if you are truly devoted to making a big impact on your community or even the world, a career in STEM is perfect for you. Careers in STEM are extremely rewarding because they can have such a huge impact on people. Whether you are a chemist developing new medications, or a doctor using those medications to help patients you are making people's lives better.
What should middle and high school girls be doing to prepare themselves for college
and a STEM careers?
High school is a great time to start preparing for a career in STEM because students start having the opportunity to chose which classes they want to take, and there are also many more opportunities to get involved in school and community organizations. I would suggest that high school girls interested in STEM careers, start taking honors or advanced placement classes. These will prepare them for more challenging courses in college, and can even earn them college credit. I would suggest that they take as many science and math courses as possible. This will give them a firm foundation to build on in later college courses, and can also give them an idea of what careers they might be interested in. I would suggest that they start thinking of potential careers and talk to or even shadow someone in those fields. You want to make sure that you give yourself every opportunity to find the perfect career that you can truly be passionate about.
What advice do you have for teachers and counselors who are assisting students prepare
for a STEM major and career?
I think one of the most important things to learn in preparation for a STEM career is how to use problem-solving skills. STEM careers are all about looking for problems in the world, and fixing them with science and technology. In STEM majors, students are going to have to do more than memorize facts; they are going to have to use their knowledge to solve problems. It is important for educators to help students develop these problem-solving skills.
Another piece of advice I would give is to help students learn about the wide array of career opportunities in STEM. For example, whenever I decided to go into a STEM career, I knew that I wanted to do something in the medical field. The obvious choice in this field is to go to medical school, so for a long time that was the path that I followed. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, but I didn't know about all of the other options I had. It can be extremely beneficial for students to have access to a teacher or counselor that can show them career opportunities in STEM that most people don't think about.
21st MTSU EYH Conference 2017
Registration is now open!
The conference has been rescheduled for February 10, 2018.
Rachel Marlin represents MTSU at the SENCER Summer Institute.
Temi Thomas and Rachel Marlin will present EYH research at the ACS Fall 2017 National Meeting.