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STEM High

Today, I got up and was at Fishers High School by 7:55 AM to talk…STEM careers for a couple of hours with 5 other women. It was fun. (Thanks to Amanda Howard, Math Teacher  for hosting us!)

Here are some of the questions we were asked, along with my more well-thought out answers after this morning, when I was sleep deprived and not fully caffeinated.

If you had high school all over to do again, what would you change?

See my answer at the Faceplace, along with several of my friends’ answers.

When did you know you wanted to be a <insert career> or study <insert major>?

I knew I wanted to be in healthcare after general chemistry in high school – it was a struggle between medicine and pharmacy, but I chose pharmacy over medicine mainly because I didn’t want to be fully married to just a job. I also need to feed my creative soul, so I needed a first profession that was a little more flexible.

What is the biggest misconception about your job or field of work?

That (at least for my first profession of pharmacy) we take pills from big jars and put them in little ones. Pharmacists do way, WAY WAY more than that now. It’s a lot more complicated than that now, thankfully.

What advice would you give to someone embarking on a brand new career today?

My advice in general for the high school students was to play Nancy Drew. (Thankfully, they knew who she was still today!) Ask questions. Be curious about the world and people. Investigate. Supersleuth.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

For me, it’s about variety. I don’t like doing the same day twice or over and over again. Variety and change are important. To others, it was more about flexibility. Still others, that they were solving problems and making the world a better place.

How important is art to STEM?

This was actually asked by one of the students, and my favorite question. To healthcare and design of it – Art is EVERYTHING. We need to disrupt healthcare. It’s a mess. I spent 45 minutes waiting to see a doctor last Saturday, and when we can get an Uber faster than we can see a doctor when we are really, really sick is just so many levels of beyond broken that I can’t even begin to justify how much design thinking we desperately need to jam into healthcare to make it more efficient. Art. Is. Everything.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to say that after hearing the panel discussion today, we still have a LOT of work to do to get to gender equality or parity in STEM moving forward in this country and state. We need to support girls and women. Help them help themselves when it comes to choosing STEM careers, and have more candid discussions about the stereotypes and flagrant discrimination when it comes to women in the workplace. We need to head this stuff face on…otherwise, it will never change.

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