And - Editor-in-Chief
Be brave, be curious, and get started.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am currently a rising senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. In the past years, the three roles that I have cherished and have cared for most are founding MindsetSeed, a mental health non-profit organization that focuses on neuroscience, being a chemist researcher at Occidental College, and being a hobbyist writer. In my sophomore year of high school, I founded MindsetSeed Inc, intending to promote a growth mindset in the youth through cultivating kindness around mental health. MindsetSeed Inc. publishes various blogs based on productivity and self-care, and we currently have a team of more than 50 young researchers who have weekly discussions on neuroplasticity. Apart from my role at MindsetSeed, I am also passionate about chemistry and finding a better treatment for Diabetes. I currently work at Occidental College to look at the correlations between the antioxidant properties and pH levels. I connected calculus integration methods in analyzing data and look forward to taking this research study even further. Overall, I believe in the intersections between different sciences, like mathematics, neuroscience, and chemistry, and love the excitement while observing these fields join their forces.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
If I were to tell my younger self that chemistry would become my passion, she would most likely be surprised. As I still remember struggling as a freshman in high school with the basic trends and fundamentals of this science. Though I worked hard, I still sought memorization over understanding. But in my sophomore year, I was fortunate to have a great AP Chemistry teacher who encouraged me to explore the topics of this subject. Instead of just studying the materials given to me, I began to explore and branch out of the topics in class. Having been very intrigued by chemistry - I started to do research and obtained the opportunity of researching in a college setting. Even though my interest in chemistry did not start smoothly like others, and it wasn't love at first sight, I believe that this journey I took made a large difference in where I am today, telling me to always try again when I fall. Like chemistry itself, as atoms are the building blocks of molecules, the actions I take each day are the building blocks of the things I discover.
HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?
No road is ever smooth, and sometimes the roughest paths lead to the most beautiful destinations. Being hit by an obstacle is an accident, but how we deal with it is a choice. When I'm faced with a challenge or failure, I take a few minutes to reflect on the situation and write what is on my mind, as this helps me see the situation clearer and perceive the bigger picture. After, if I still feel scared or down, I would listen to motivational music while running, and I would be better afterward. When my "get better" routine is all done, I would be ready to conquer the situation. It is also crucial to look at obstacles as opportunities rather than negative things, as it helps you grow as a person and aids one in strengthening for what is to come.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
What I wish my younger me would have known was possible and have done was researching the high school. When I first entered high school, I thought the opportunities offered were just limited to activities like Model United Nations or Science Bowl, and never knew a program called Science Research existed. And when I look back, I wished I would have started research sooner, as it is a process I greatly cherish. The excitement of designing your experiment, and satisfaction in collecting data, is something that makes my heart run when experiencing. This is why I wished I had known to do research earlier, as it is something that helps one grows as an intellect.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
Working in STEM is an amazing experience, as the possibilities STEM offers are endless. Though, what I love most about STEM is the intersection it holds with the many fields it contains. For example, in my recent research study, I was greatly excited to observe an intersection between calculus and chemistry. When looking at the inhibitory times of the Briggs-Rauscher reaction, I used calculus integration and differentiation techniques to identify the tangent line and arc length of the parabolic graph the experiment formed. This is why STEM is like a rabbit hole of ideas, as anything you think of is possible. Furthermore, STEM also can solve some of the world's most harmful issues such as climate change, or diseases like cancer. STEM gives you the power to make a positive impact in the world, with the diversity that it offers, and this is why I love working in STEM.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
I think the best advice to give girls who are pursuing STEM is to just put yourself out there, meaning getting started and connecting with like-minded people. A dream is never a reality if you don't take action, and fears will only fade away if you take the first steps. It is also essential to network in STEM, as it is a field of collaboration, and many times in dynamic conversations you'll find your first idea. I know personally putting yourself out there can be difficult, and even harder if you are an introvert like me. But those "what-ifs" or the butterflies in your stomach will only fly away if you start working on your vision. So be brave, be curious, and get started, and I am sure that you'll find that STEM is an exciting world to be a part of.
"Becoming is better than being" - Carol Dweck