Women’s History Month is dedicated to highlighting the contributions to society made by women. In partnership with BC student organization Women in STEM, we will be highlighting some of our very own women in STEM here at Boston College!
Q: Why are you interested in STEM?
“It is integrated into nearly every part of life. Whether it is learning about evolution or the mathematics behind gravitational forces, STEM is applicable to things we experience and see in our day-to-day routines. Through learning in STEM courses, I am able to solve fun problems and develop my critical thinking skills.” — Jennifer Harris ‘22, Mathematics and Economics Major
“I have always had a love for the environment and nature and I enjoy learning about how the world works. I also hope to use my science knowledge to aid in environmental conservation and a more sustainable future.” — Victoria Newton ‘23, Chemistry Major and Environmental Studies Minor
“In STEM, you are constantly challenged to be analytical and curious, but the rewards that STEM can have extend far beyond yourself. The impacts can make a difference for the entire global community, and I am eager to help through STEM.” — Kristi Liivak ‘24, Neuroscience Major
Q: What have been your favorite STEM experiences at Boston College and beyond?
“Working at the Institute of Scientific Research at Boston College and presenting at the 2019 MIT Haystack Observatory NEROC Conference on my research! My research involved conducting an unbiased census of Galactic Long-Period Variable Stars on the galactic disk using Kepler Full Frame Images from the NASA Kepler Mission. In other words, I was mapping where dying stars were located! This project taught me how to think creatively in the programs I wrote!” — Jacqueline Girouard ‘21, Computer Science Major and Mathematics Minor
“My favorite STEM experiences include, but are certainly not limited to, working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the McMenamin Lab, studying the morphological effects of thyroid levels, as well as working on the BC EagleShadow Executive Board. I am also a mentor for the CAMP STEM GIRL Mentorship Program, which has been a wonderful way to not only support young girls interested in STEM fields, but also reflect on my own journey towards a career in medicine.” — Rachel S. Lee ‘22, Biochemistry Major and Applied Psychology & Human Development Minor
“I volunteered at Thomas Edison school for the Women in STEM club, where I got to promote STEM concepts to young girls still figuring out what subjects they are interested in. Knowing there is a stigma around math and science as being “too hard,” it is important to encourage the youth, especially females, that they are capable of anything and that STEM can be fun. Through this volunteering opportunity, I got to engage with students in fun science experiments.” — Jennifer Harris
Q: Do you have any mentors or women in STEM that you look up to?
“I look up to Laurie Leshin who is the current, and first, female president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Leshin had a previous career at NASA and is an accomplished geochemistry and space scientist.” — Victoria Newton
“Growing up, I have always looked up to my mom, as there were not many women in STEM when she began to pursue a career as a computer programmer. Her confidence to enter a field mostly dominated by men inspires me to be courageous and explore the many different fields of STEM. With her support, I feel like I can achieve anything I put my mind to.” — Kristi Liivak
“During my time in the McMenamin Lab at Boston College, I have met so many amazing female mentors and peers whom I genuinely look up to as both professionals and individuals. This is a huge shout-out to Sarah McMenamin, Stacy Nguyen and Melody Harper — incredible women who are not only passionate about their research, but are also invested in creating a more inclusive space in the BC Biology Department.” — Rachel S. Lee
Q: What makes you proud to be a woman in STEM?
“I love computer science! I am so fortunate I found this path and have been supported in it! Helping and encouraging others to also follow their STEM path is extremely rewarding.” — Jacqueline Girouard
“There is persisting gender inequality in STEM that is present even at the university level, so I am proud to be a part of a movement that will have a positive impact on history. One day, I hope to inspire young girls to not be afraid to follow their passions, no matter what society tells them.” — Kristi Liivak
“It is an honor to be part of a community of women who are dedicated to their aspirations. As a woman in STEM, I recognize the responsibility I hold to be a resource and provide guidance for other young women looking to pursue a career in STEM. I hope that young girls can look at the growing community of intelligent and strong women in STEM and understand that the fields of research and science, fields traditionally dominated by white men, are changing for the better, and we as women are directly responsible for that change.” — Rachel S. Lee