The phrase “STEM career” is a vague term that actually represents an exciting array of jobs. For STEM month, we at Girl Scouts of Central Maryland would like to introduce you to several women who work in STEM fields. They will tell you in their own words why STEM careers are the best!
What do you do?
I’m an operations manager at a pilot plant—this basically means I run a small factory.
How did you know that this is what you wanted to do?
I didn’t always know. I knew I liked math and science pretty early, somewhere around the 2nd grade. Because I liked science I went to school for chemical engineering. After school, I started working at a factory, I realized I really liked it. It’s very complicated, like a large abstract puzzle.
What is a typical day like at your job?
Everyday at work is different. Some days I spend figuring out issues with our equipment and fixing them, other days I’m working on getting raw materials that make our products more profitable. I also work on making sure our factory is following all the laws we need to follow.
What is the best part of your job?
Figuring out how to solve problems. The moment you figure out how to fix a quality problem, or make a product easier for your employees to make it’s exciting!
What is the most surprising thing that you have discovered about your field?
In engineering you can drive your career in many different directions. I chose to go more into a management path. Other engineers go into product development and design products. You can also go into factory design, compliance, or quality control.
What did you have to learn in order to do what you do?
I studied chemical engineering- which is why I’m able to manage a chemical factory. Chemical engineering is a good field for anyone who likes physics, chemistry, and math. The basic job of a chemical engineer is to take a chemical reaction a chemist has invented at a small scale, and make it work on a very large scale.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls about careers in STEM?
There will be some people that will discourage you along the way from being in science, but there will be many more that will support you. Ignore the voices of discouragement, and believe in yourself!
What is something girls should know about STEM?
It’s fun! You get to do something new everyday. Your working with your hands and you’re not stuck behind a desk. STEM is all about being curious. Asking questions like “how does _[blank]__ work?” and then actually figuring it out.