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Broadcom MASTERS
Young & Amazing

These 8 young women prove STEM isn’t just for boys

November 6, 2017
The 15 young women finalists of Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
The 15 young women finalists of Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

What does it mean to be a young woman in STEM? For the top winners of Broadcom MASTERS 2017, the nation’s most prestigious STEM competition for middle school students, it means having the power to change the world. These incredible young women share how STEM allows them to improve lives, and offer some advice to other aspiring female scientists and engineers.


Meghna Behari

Being a young woman in STEM, I often feel the need to set a role to those even younger than me, to show them that even in a male-dominated field we have the capability to make a huge impact. As women in STEM, we are creating our own path, proving along the way that our gender won't prevent us from reaching success. I am proud to be part of such a bright and innovative group of people who all have the same goals.

As women in STEM, we're creating our own path, proving that our gender won't prevent us from reaching success.

I think it's important to note that we are no different than men in STEM, there are simply fewer of us. I don't want to accept the men to women gap in STEM fields, but rather hope to work towards encouraging more girls to be part of the community, and hopefully see a huge change by the time I am part of a STEM workforce.

Meghna Behari, center, participated in a challenge during Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Meghna Behari, center, participated in a challenge with the gold team during Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

I hope to be a role model for younger girls who are hesitant about going into STEM. I understand the struggle of being one of few girls in my classes. I know some girls struggle to be part of the STEM community because they doubt their own skills, they don't feel welcomed or comfortable in a male-dominated setting, or they don't see how they can use STEM in their lives and career. 

To inspire other girls in STEM, I would tell them to look around. They have the capability to make breakthrough discoveries or invent something revolutionary. They have the capability to help change the world.

It is important for them to know that they have the same skills as men, and to not be hesitant about walking into a class of all boys. Advice I would give them is to start early, make their own path in whatever area interests them and not worry what people think or say about the, along the way. We can all inspire other girls around us and change the way STEM fields are perceived by girls in the future. 


 

Jessie Gan and Sara Kaufman worked together on the purple team in Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Jessie Gan and Sara Kaufman worked together on the purple team in Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

Jessie Gan

To be a young woman in STEM is to be important. It’s to be prominent. It’s having the power to change the world, to help a suffering person, to amend a person’s life. The fact that I have the power to impact other people beyond my small community amazes me, and going to Broadcom MASTERS has really broadened my scope and audience. It has allowed me to carry my project and ideas to a larger platform so that I am heard by lots of people around the country, something I couldn’t accomplish before.

Never before in history have we as women had this much clout in the direction humans will take to advance forward.

I love science because it helps me understand the world and have a purpose in life, and being a young woman in that increasingly popular field makes me feel like I’m among pioneers of a new and smarter generation of people.

Something I would tell young girls is that with STEM we can change the world. Never before in history have we as women had this much clout in the direction humans will take to advance forward. Bright young girls have so much potential to inspire ideas and lead the way in scientific breakthroughs and discoveries of the world around us. We must take that opportunity and exploit our creativity to better benefit our world.


 

Zoe Gotthold used a net to sein in the Chesapeake Bay during Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Zoe Gotthold used a net to sein in the Chesapeake Bay during Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

Zoe Gotthold

Being a young woman in STEM means that I am a scientist. I get to study the way the world works the same as any guy. The scientific method doesn't have a gender. However, I also get to bring a unique perspective. I often work on teams with all guys, and I do tend to think in new ways. Our most successful teams are when we combine different people.

Don't feel weird if you end up being the only girl in math club. You belong there as much as anyone else. 

You really don't need to be perfect to be interested in STEM. There is no requirement to be the best math student or the best writer to be good at science. All you need to do is have a passion for something and study that.

STEM is a great place for girls. Science doesn't have a gender — you get to follow your passion. Don't feel weird if you end up being the only girl in math club. You belong there as much as anyone else.


 

Herin Kang worked with the gold team in Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Herin Kang worked with the gold team in Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

Herin Kang

In the past, the majority of the scientists were men. But now more and more women are discovering and achieving greater things in science and math than in the past. I learned this because I am one of these women who can one day change the world. It really increases my self-esteem to know that I am an accomplished person and that I can achieve great things in my future.

I am one of these women who can one day change the world.

I would tell girls interested in STEM that they shouldn't listen to the negative comments from today's society and that they should pursue STEM and their interests despite the fact that they are a girl. They can show the world that girls can accomplish things just as well as boys can through their achievements. 


 

Sara Kaufman displayed her research during the Broadcom MASTERS 2017 project showcase.
Sara Kaufman displayed her research during the Broadcom MASTERS 2017 project showcase.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

Sara Kaufman

To me, a young female in STEM symbolizes a flower. Girls are just starting to get involved in STEM, and each girl is currently a bud in what is going to soon become a flourishing flower bouquet. I like the fact that the status quo is being changed for the better, and in the 21st century girls are starting to slowly get more involved in the area.

The most important quality a girl can have is perseverance.

I would like to enforce the fact that girls and boys may be different, but that does not mean that one gender is better than another. The most important quality a girl can have is perseverance. For example, I have had some struggles with math, but I kept on trying and found myself in an honors class and with a Broadcom MASTERS math award. If you do poorly on something, take that something as a learning experience and build off of it next time.  


 

Helen Lyons worked on her team's ROV during a challenge in Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Helen Lyons worked on her team's ROV during a challenge in Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

Helen Lyons

As a young woman in STEM, I think of myself as someone who is interested in the world around me and the ways I can improve the lives of other people. The advice I would give to younger girls is that the scientific method is the best way of increasing our knowledge of the world around us. Humans started off knowing little about the world they lived in, but through systematic and controlled testing using the scientific method, we have come up with theories about the way the world works. Once we’ve used the scientific method to test a hypothesis enough times, we begin to regard the hypothesis as true. However, no discovery is ever a fact, because every so often someone comes around with a better way to think about an idea and disproves a long-accepted theory. The scientific method is how we make progress in society — it’s how we come up with new ways to view the world and invent new technology to make our lives better.

The scientific method is how we make progress in society — it’s how we come up with new ways to view the world and invent new technology to make our lives better.

No matter how small it may seem, every scientific result observed from experimentation is extremely important. Many of the pieces of technology we see when we look around us weren’t invented in one sitting by some genius inventor, they were the product of dozens of scientists' work. Not all of this work was groundbreaking — many famous experiments that didn’t turn out as expected have changed the course of science.

My advice to an aspiring young scientist would be to never give up, and to keep investigating if something doesn’t turn out as expected. Small details can sometimes lead to big discoveries.


 

Pujita Tangirala helped her team on a challenge during Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Pujita Tangirala helped her team on a challenge during Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

Pujita Tangirala

For me, being a young woman in STEM means being myself. Because I am pursuing STEM, I feel like I am doing what I want with my life. What is even better is that I am also helping others. By being active in important fields like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, I feel like I am making a small yet important difference in the grand scheme of the world.

Being a young woman in STEM means being myself.

My advice for young girls in STEM is to never give up on your dreams. Don’t let anyone stop you from pursuing whatever passion you enjoy. Anyone has the potential to be great at anything, as long as you try your hardest. Stay committed to your goals and you can accomplish anything.


 

Emily Tianshi (right) worked with her team on the Raspberry Pi challenge at Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Emily Tianshi (right) worked with her team on the Raspberry Pi challenge at Broadcom MASTERS 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Science & the Public/Linda Doane.

Emily Tianshi

I never consciously realized that I was one of the only girls in my math club, school science fair, and robotics team until other people pointed it out. This actually encouraged me and acted as a boost of confidence when I thought of myself as a “pioneer” for girls in STEM at my school.

I thought of myself as a 'pioneer' for girls in STEM at my school.

I personally think it is a stereotype that girls don’t excel in STEM. I am an active organizer in All Girls STEM Society. The girls who attend our workshops are all engaging, bright, and enthusiastic about STEM, especially because they have no fear of diving into it and breaking the stereotype. Building robots or solving advanced math problems is not very different than other common things we do, like styling hair, cooking, choosing outfits, and more. In all these activities, we find a challenge and tackle it. Never be afraid to make mistakes or be discouraged at failure. As Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”