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May 1, 2019 marked the date of the much anticipated #STEMtoo event. Many empowering female leaders spoke, including, Rochelle Williams, Katherine Freese, Leah Gilliam, Kerry Grens and our moderator Holly Smithson. Cultivating a space for the important discussion on gender discrimination and sexual assault from highly qualified women in STEM, it was definitely a learning experience for the attendees.

In Women in Science Society member Rachel Klemm’s words, “Yesterday at STEMToo, my eyes were opened because as a daughter of parents that didn’t go to a traditional four year college in the United States, I saw someone who achieved so much without someone to look up to in their family for guidance. Also, coming from Silicon Valley and being a statistics major with an emphasis in data science, I had a very narrow minded idea that I could only work in tech, but the panelists assured us that every company wants people like me to analyze big data and that was encouraging to hear.”

Kaylin Borders’ favorite part of the event was when Rochelle said her response to someone asking “are you in the right room?” was “why do you think I am in the wrong one?” Kaylin stated, “this event inspired me to show up and never feel less than others. It reminded me that no matter what or how I feel, I am always making a way for other girls behind me.”

What Elena Dsouza valued most was “when each speaker emphasized at the end that we deserve everything we have earned and that we were not handed anything due to our race or gender. We worked our butts off to be where we are at and deserve the awards we receive so we should never belittle ourselves on our accomplishments.”

im·pos·tor syn·drome
the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills.

I learned about the impostor syndrome, which is especially prevalent with women in STEM. Now that I am aware about it, I can better understand my doubts and feelings I sometimes have where I feel like I do not belong. It felt better knowing I was not alone in feeling self-doubt and intellectual fraudulence. I learned that I should try to find support and be supportive of others when dealing with impostor syndrome.

Overall, every attendee had a different takeaway from the inspiring women speakers whose words of wisdom will echo in their mind as they navigate the world of STEM.

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