Rosemary Davidson, Ph.D. candidate
In school, I always loved math, and I was fortunate to grow up near the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. During career days in elementary and middle school, we had both male and female engineers and astrophysicists come to speak with us about their career paths. In high school, I was fortunate enough to be able to shadow a woman who was an engineer at NASA Goddard, and this experience drove my decision to study aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland. When I started looking at graduate programs, a professor encouraged me to apply to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where I am now pursuing a PhD in aerospace engineering. After graduation, I hope to have a career that is not only exciting, but also one that helps others.
My own experiences have highlighted how important mentors and support systems are for success. I wouldn't be where I am now without the support of several teachers, mentors, friends, and, of course, my parents. In my career, I plan to pay this forward through STEM outreach efforts, especially for other young women and girls. I encourage everyone to learn a bit about engineering, in particular. In high school, I really liked math but hated science. I took a chance to study aerospace engineering, and I'm so glad I did. Oftentimes, I think students are unsure of what engineering really is and don't necessarily consider themselves great at "math and science", so they don't consider it as a viable option. While it's true that STEM is not for everyone, I do hope to bring more awareness to the wide variety of careers one can have in STEM, so that high school students can have more exposure to the variety of opportunities out there before deciding if it is or is not for them.
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