Ana Beiriger, Newsletter Coordinator
Last September, I was looking for a way to get involved in Chicago’s greater STEM community when heard about EYH Chicago. I had been working on my graduate degree at the University of Chicago for a few years, studying how immature neurons move through the developing brain to ensure the proper wiring of neural circuits. While I enjoyed working in the lab and teaching at the university, I wanted to share my love of science outside of the classroom as well.
When I learned about EYH Chicago, something clicked. I had participated in events similar to our annual conference when I was younger, and I remembered attending a day of hands-on activities hosted by a local chapter of Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WIMSE). I’d been interested in science before the event but never consciously realized it. Catching and observing tadpoles, snails, and other crawly things from the wetlands near my parents’ house were just things I did for fun. I didn’t know any scientists, and I certainly didn’t realize science could be done by people like me. At the WIMSE event, I was surrounded by women – both peers and mentors – who challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and try my hand at physics, engineering, and robotics. Afterwards, I could finally envision myself as a scientist. It wasn’t only about representation – though it was important to see others like me doing science, it was even more empowering to see myself as an active participant in the scientific process.
I joined the organizing committee at EYH Chicago because I believe we can collectively provide a new generation of girls with an opportunity to realize their potential as leaders in STEM. There is nothing like doing the work of a scientist to convince you of how much you have to contribute – and how much fun you can have while doing it. Our annual event is key to this, as it creates a space for girls to see themselves as a driving force behind scientific inquiry. But I also want us to sustain the excitement of our one-day event all year round, and provide long-term resources for girls to read about and discover new areas of STEM. To that end, I’ve brought back our EYH newsletter and am working with a fantastic team of volunteers to create content that will be posted here regularly. Our hope is that this blog can serve as a resource to find information on upcoming STEM events in Chicago, hear firsthand what excites and motivates Chicagoland women working in STEM, and read about scientific discoveries made by women across the globe.
Watch this space.