ISSUE SEVEN: COURAGE
Art by Shrida Bhat
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Issue 7 | Courage
table of contents Chau Mai, Myat Noe
Exploring Courage in Radical Ways
Meet the Team Courage Over the Centuries
Aneeta Thokkadam, Pritika Lally
Oh, Modern Woman Shrinithi Sathyaseela
Yusra Mardini Rumeysa Yilmaz, Emily Nie
Creativity in Courage Carolina Ibanez, Giselle Dougan
09 11 15
Women Who Embody Courage
Rebecca Chang Layout by Firmiana Wang, Kelsey Njembu, & Kali Tam
Courage from the Classrooms
Courage vs. Stereotypes
Neera Patel, Linda Duong
Aryana Ramos-Vazquez, Trisha Chinnimeni
How to Thrive as a Woman in STEM Leah Suggs
A Letter to the Girl Who Can
Tips on Being Courageous
Girl Genius Team
MEET The TEAM Sofia Ruiz Caitlin Ramiscal Jannath Aurfan Sanya Gupta
Shrida Bhat Tara Ayer Utsha Rai
Agnes Mar Inuola Babalola Fazira Azzahra H Nina Shenoy
Fara Yan Wei Ni Zhang Yi Huang
Sarah Mirsaidi Emma Benyaminy Nikki Agrawal
Aastha Vishwakarma Deeksha Cirigadi Lyla Ibrahim Saumya
Aashi Amish Deeks
Angela Lee Aneeta Thokkadam Aryana Ramos-Vazquez Carolina Ibanez Chau Mai 1
Leslie Kim Devna Panda Hanna Rashid Julianne Tenorio
Chelsea Poppleton Michelle Wai Man Lo Reeva Khokhar Sasha Cara
Leah Suggs Maesha Hossain Tiffany Yang
Cynthia Zhang Firmiana Wang Kali Tam
Devanshi Shah Dana Garibaldi Danniella Soetandi Emily Hue Luu Kendehl Taylor
Mendpara ha Sharma sha Cirigadi
Natasha Valluri Emily Nie Georgia McLenaghan Giselle Marie Dougan
Kateri Arano Kelsey Njembu Mehrish Avza
Hannah Del Barrio Htoo Myat Noe Linda Duong Neera Patel
Kristine McLaughlin Kriti Sundaresa Lilian Zhu Nadine Hilman Vivian Wang
Pritika Lally Rebecca Chang Rumeysa Yilmaz Trisha Chinnimeni
Layout by Kateri Arano & Mehrish Avza
OVER THE CENTURIES Written by Chau Mai & Myat Noe | Art by Shrida Bhat Layout by Cynthia Zhang 3
women have been deemed inferior to men, shown through centuries of suffrage, stripped from their basic human rights, and held to social limitations. What many misogynistic individuals failed to notice was that women play an integral role in our society, and they have impacted society indelibly in their own way. Let’s hop on the time machine back to 1789, when courageous women with iron hearts spearheaded one of the most
important revolutions in history — the French Revolution. Months before the Versailles march, there had been many sparks of protests all throughout Paris, but all along, the sparks had been contained. However, on that fateful day, October 5, 1789, the sparks decided to unleash their ever-burning rage towards the patriarchy and monarchy of Paris, France.
The nation declared bankruptcy, along with harsh weather conditions that ruined a year’s harvest, all of which worsened the economy and put many people in hunger. Meanwhile, the royalty didn’t suffer from all these obstacles that plagued the rest of the nation: the king, Louis XVI, and the queen, Marie Antoinette, enjoyed their lavish lifestyle with excessive parties and clothes. Even after the commoners under the National Assembly abolished the Ancien Regime that favored taxation for the wealthy and created the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen that guaranteed people’s rights, the king did not react to the action but rather
spent his life at the Versailles Palace. Enraged by the high price and scarcity of bread, which drove many civilians to starvation, and rumors that the royal guards of Versailles, the palace where the royal family resided, had trampled on the revolutionary colors of red, white, and blue and plotted counter-revolution, women from Paris' marketplaces led the March on Versailles on October 5, 1789, to demand an accounting of the King's actions. Approximately 7,000 women gathered in Paris to occupy the city hall to demand that grain warehouses be opened up to help alleviate the food crisis. 4
The women traveled 12 miles to meet with Louis XVI at the Palace of Versailles, but when he refused to comply with all of their demands, the marchers became violent, and the royal family was forced to return to
Paris. The marchers' success in forcing the king to move to Paris and support the reforms was a significant turning point in the French Revolution and a major defeat for France's Ancien Régime of hereditary monarchy.
of women who expressed their rage towards the political system of France, LouiseReine Audu stood out the most. A fruit seller though she may be, she was present at every insurrectionist event, including the Women's March on Versailles. She was singled out to present her grievances to King Louis XVI and plead with him to come back to Paris to provide bread for the city's less fortunate. Her ability to speak her mind was acknowledged by many, and contemporary accounts stated that she was a particularly feisty and
brave woman who even defeated several Swiss guards. To this date, this demonstration is a paragon of women taking the lead in addressing social injustice issues. The French ladies helped start one of the most influential revolutions in history. Yet, they were only mentioned briefly in history books and did not receive nearly the amount of recognition they most certainly deserve. Such is the unfortunate fate bestowed upon many women throughout history.
However, every now and then, passionate individuals like us with a yearning to celebrate women for their courageous successes will reflect upon the impacts they have left on
the narrative of humanity, and create a piece like this that will be passed down to readers for
Written by Aneeta Thokkadam & Pritika Lally | Art by Sanya Gupta | Layout by Kali Tam
The modern-day sphere of STEAM is rife with sentiments of courage and perseverance. However, women in STEAM are often excluded or not considered when it comes to these sentiments. Pushing oneself until limits are reached and embracing romanticized notions of self-care just for the sake of persevering are some ideals, albeit toxic, that resurface time and time again for those involved in STEAM. But are these ideals truly effective in instilling courage in everyone who seeks to practice courage? And if they’re not, how can we discover more fruitful manners of practicing courage so that everyone involved in STEAM can experience the notion of courage?
Intellectual courage is essential because, with it, students can achieve tremendous success in academics and beyond, so when you are placed in an environment that makes it challenging to embrace courage, it in turn negatively impacts mental health and the ability to persevere through hardships. Our lack of representation that pervades academics and the workforce is a reason why the "typical" manners of practicing courage may seem futile; exploring courage in uncommon ways for those who find themselves in uncommon situations (such as being the only woman in a classroom) can be much more beneficial. Finding your own ways to practice courage, such as through self-care, is essential for acknowledging and appreciating that you can discover courageousness in the face of adversity. 7
Your mental health must always come first, no matter how hectic your schedule is. It's quite normal to feel stressed as a student, but that doesn't excuse you from taking care of yourself. Self-care is vital and will benefit you in the long run of your STEAM path, even if you have to fit it into your busy schedule. Heavy workloads, competitive settings, and a lack of representation are just a few of the many reasons why selfcare should be prioritized, particularly among women in STEAM. On the topic of self-care, we appear to have developed an alluring hype around self-care as a society. And while there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, we may have misinterpreted what it means. We invalidate the deeper meaning of self-care and what else it can look like when we romanticize it and construct a singular vision of it.
What we can achieve as a society is even greater than what we can achieve individually. Girls will feel less pressure if the gender gap in STEAM is narrowed. Less stress could lead to fewer mental health challenges in women in STEAM in the long run. Self-care will look different for everyone, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy, so customize it to match your needs. You'll be able to follow your dreams successfully and courageously no matter what obstacles you face in your STEAM journey.
oh, modern woman Written by Shrinithi Sathiyaseela | Layout by Cynthia Zhang
and i become woman: redefined 10
Yusra Yusra Mardini Mardini
Born in Damascus, Syria, Yusra Mardini started swimming at three years old. She quickly found her passion for the sport, and inspired by various Olympians, worked to enter the competitive scene. At the age of 14, she represented her country in the FINA World Championships, but her journey was cut short when the civil war began to spread across the country.
There were bombings in schools and residential areas—it was no longer a safe environment. In 2015, after the destruction of Mardini's home, she and her sister decided to flee Damascus. They crossed Lebanon and Turkey before attempting to reach Greece through a dinghy. As 20 people crowded the sevenperson boat, the motor failed.
With the help of two others, they worked to keep the boat afloat by clinging onto the rope with one arm and paddling with the other. It took more than three hours, but they were able to save all 20 lives. After 25 days, they finally reached Germany. For Mardini, the journey reminds her that people are stronger than they think.
Determined not to let her refugee status hold her back, Mardini continued to pursue her passion for swimming. In 2016, Mardini joined the first-ever refugee Olympic team. Consisting of 10 people, the team was a message of hope and courage to refugees to the 82.4 million displaced people worldwide. Mardini often describes the Olympics as one of the best moments in her life, and she was able to place first in her heat - the first of the series. Though it did not qualify her for the second round, it was still a huge accomplishment. Mardini headed on to compete in the Tokyo Olympics last year. She hopes that her journey can inspire and prove that one’s background should not stop one from dreaming and moving forward. She hopes to prove that refugees can accomplish anything.
Mardini’s story is no different than what many refugees face worldwide. However, many are often too afraid to disclose their side of the story. To combat this issue, Mardini published Butterfly– a book dedicated to her story of rescue, hope, and triumph, which raises awareness of the obstacles many refugees face. Many of these obstacles and hardships go unnoticed. Thus, her goal was to shed light on some of these experiences by sharing her experiences and how she overcame challenges to get to where she is today. By doing so, she reminds people never to give up hope because there’s always a chance.
Mardini actively speaks at various global conferences and refugee camps. She’s spoken at the UN General Assembly in New York, World Economic Forum at Davos, Google Zeitgeist, and more. In 2018, she traveled to Sicily to interact with refugees who had similar journeys to hers. In 2019, Mardini went back to the Middle East with UNHCR to encourage refugees in the Zaatari Refugee camp to pursue their dreams regardless of the barriers they faced from the government and other entities. Her involvement has led her to receive the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador award, making history by being the youngest to have received this prestigious award. Despite having faced numerous hurdles, Mardini persisted towards her dream. She continues to use her voice to bring attention to the existence and stories of refugees around the world, her courage serving as an inspiration to all.
COURAGE Written by Carolina Ibanez & Giselle Dougan Edited by Kriti Sundaresa Art by Utsha Rai Layout by Kelsey Njembu
Growing up, I had always been told that if I wanted to be successful in STEM, I would need to completely pour my focus into building technical skills. “Be strong in mathematics and arithmetic, make sure you understand the basics (and complexities) of physics, and learn the basics of code because that will be essential.” However, as I matured into my role as a software engineer, I realized that everyone was following the same strategy. The technical heavy, leftbrained strengths were exactly what every other person in STEM was putting in energy for. I became obsessed with grade-point averages and heavily skewed towards STEM-related classes.
I found myself and others abandoning creative endeavors for the sake of strengthening those skills—packing away my sketchbooks and replacing them, formula sheets, lying about my writing ability for the sake of being more "engineer-like". Then, I went to college. College is an even more competitive battleground where standing out amongst the best in class is a constant battle—another hill of trying to prove myself twice as much as your male counterpart. Then, I realized that to stand out, I had to bring so much more to the table than just average technical abilities. Skills I was told to ignore, told to hide in the closet in fear that someone would discover me chasing creative pursuits was precisely what was needed.
When I first realized STEM was what I wanted to dedicate my life to, I noticed a switch- a switch in the classes I was taking, a switch in the plans I was making about my future, and a switch in where I placed my worth.
In recent years, I stopped placing all my worth in STEM and began allowing myself to indulge in my artistic passions and the intersection between my love for art and STEM. As a writer at Girl Genius, I’ve found a way to develop the communication skills I’ll need in professional research while simply enjoying myself and appreciating the skills and hard work that goes into every career.
“We need more women in STEM!” is an empowering phrase, but it often silences other passions in women that happen to be successful in STEM subjects. For instance, I once overheard a math teacher talking about how a former student was “throwing their talents away” by majoring in English rather than math, which she also specialized in. As an aspiring astrophysicist, I appreciate the support I've received as a woman pursuing a field I’m underrepresented in, especially when facing pressure against pursuing my artistic interests.
Written by Hannah Rashid | Layout by Kateri Arano
"What do you think?" "I don't know."
I've heard these words throughout my life—from my classmates, my teachers, my parents, and even from myself. I always held on to the idea that my nature of being quiet was terrible—it showed signs of weakness, fear, and a lack of confidence. I saw my best friend go up in front of the whole class and debate, spread their ideas without a care in the world for what everyone else thought. I felt like an outsider looking in while everyone else went around giving a piece of their mind, while I felt the need to keep it all away. If only everybody else knew how loud my mind was. If only they knew how many ideas circulate in my brain, how many opinions are travel around each second, how many disagreements I never voiced aloud. I had believed I was a burden to everyone, even if they seemingly wished to hear my thoughts and opinions.
How can I be courageous when I'm not loud, open, brave, bold, and strong? How can I be a leader when my voice is hidden behind everyone else's? Just speak! It wasn't until a class activity that brought into light a realization. We each were given a person to create a superlative for, it was a relatively easy task, and I did not think very deeply of it until I received mine: Most likely to quietly take over the world. My first reaction was shrouded in shame. I felt ashamed of being quiet and labeled as the quiet girl. But the second part had resonated with me. Courage does not have to be loud. Courage does not even need words. Being quiet does not insinuate fear or weakness. Listening is the most powerful quality one can possess. The power of listening is courageous. Courage is what it takes to step back and listen.
Courage DURING THE PANDEMIC
Written by Rebecca Chang Edited by Georgia McLenaghan Art by Tara Ayver Layout by Mehrish Avza
The role of teachers in times of crisis is often overlooked. As the contributor to children’s growth, closely following parents, they carry the responsibility of their face value role, teaching, and helping to maintain the health of the children and people around them. As COVID-19 forced much of the world out of the physical classroom, teachers were suddenly forced to fulfill those responsibilities in entirely new ways, facing new realities and overcoming self-doubt. Even the strongest fought invisible mental health battles, dealing with the stress of maintaining their own mental and physical health, as well as all their students’. In addition, many teachers have another role: parenting their own children. When schools and childcare services shut down worldwide, parents added on the full-time job of constantly watching over their children. Teachers who risk going to school in person often face the constant worry of bringing the virus home and infecting their family. One teacher describing her frustrations noted, “I’m not an online teacher. I’ve not been trained to do any of this, and I don’t want my students to be at a loss because I am in uncharted territory. I just hope people know that we are trying our absolute best, and it’s hard to make a decision that pleases everyone.” Teachers were forced to chart new paths. Given the tight constraints of funding and health guidelines, they had to make tough decisions to ensure the health and safety of themselves, their students, and their families.
Nurses and health care professionals have always been the backbone of our society for incredibly long. Yet they've constantly been taken for granted and end up underappreciated. They're the ones we see when we're hurt, when we need help, when we need to save lives; they're the ones who, with their courage, keep our loved ones living. But now, in these new years of fear and unknown possibilities, our 'new normal' depends on nurses. Nurses face the daily battle of risking their lives at work—they deserve our utmost appreciation for their tenacity and strength. Lesser known is that nurses often face trauma through psychological consequences of the pandemic.
With many hospitals short-staffed, a significant number of nurses are required to pull double shifts regularly and consequently sacrifice time with their loved ones. And through this, most nurses have managed to pull through, what with scars, physical or psychological. Granted their constant courageousness, I truly hope that we can begin to show greater appreciation for their dedication in the coming future and throughout our ‘new normal.’
Written by Maesha Hossain Art by Tara Ayer Layout by Kelsey Njembu
She hesitates. Will her journey be worthwhile?
Written by Neera Patel & Linda Duong Art by Utsha Rai Layout by Kateri Araano
Have you ever been in an emergency where many people are around, but no one seems to be helping? In social psychology, this is referred to as the bystander effect.
Self-advocacy inside the classroom calls for being an upstander rather than a bystander in any situation, no matter how difficult.
There are many possible theories of why the bystander effect occurs, from having trouble determining our personal responsibility in responding to a situation when the blame/action can be spread across a group to being afraid of making a mistake when others are watching. This apprehension and fear lead to pluralistic ignorance: a reliance on other people’s actions to model our actions. Since everyone is afraid to act, nobody does. Unfortunately, the bystander effect is rampant in schools—both on a peerto-peer level and a systemic, institutionalized level.
Often in school, some students will torment others for various reasons, whether that may be a superiority complex, personal insecurities, or simply just for fun. However, the fact still remains that bullying is a prominent issue in today’s society. For instance, in 2019, the National Center for Educational Statistics reported that one in every five students had been bullied at least once. If this is such a prevalent problem, why does it still exist? Many students often find themselves judged for religion, ethnicity, or choice of clothing. If we take a closer look at this issue, these prejudices may have stemmed from previous historical problems, such as the segregation in American schools in the mid-1900s. However, it can be difficult for other students to recognize what exactly this means with bullying being so common. Bullying occurs in many forms, whether it be verbal or physical violence. Nevertheless, it is crucial for a student to take a stand against it whenever possible.
While just one person standing up for an issue may seem pointless, it could change a fellow peer’s life. The bystander effect is why many of us are afraid of standing up, whether out of fear or embarrassment. Despite this, talking to a teacher, discussing with a guidance counselor, helping the victim, or even getting a parent involved are all great ways to stand up to a bully and take action. If a stand is not taken against these tormentors, the issue only progresses, and nothing is solved.
Historically, there have been many recorded instances of overt bullying occurring within the American education system, such as the segregation of Black students. Schools may teach this form of oppression as an item of the past, but its principle still exists today: it has simply manifested into more modern structures. Public schools, for instance, are funded in a way that disadvantages students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds—including but not limited to students of racial minorities ,students with disabilities, or students
living in single-parent families. Schools are funded proportionately to the taxes paid in the jurisdiction where they exist. That is, a school in a less fortunate neighborhood receives far less funding than a school in a wealthier district, leading to poorer student outcomes due to bigger class sizes, fewer extracurricular programs, and similar factors.
stopbullying.gov stompoutbullying.org/blog/takestand-against-bullying-becomeupstander bullybust.org/students/upstander au.reachout.com/articles/how-tobe-an-upstander
Applications to post-secondary programs also discriminate between academic performance and the amount of time dedicated to extracurriculars. When thinking of someone responsible for working to support their family instead of joining clubs and volunteering, this situation is wholly unfair. Due to the bystander effect, many of us tend to recognize these issues without taking steps to address them. From students to teachers, principals, policy-makers, and further, there may be an acknowledgment that these issues exist, but a general lack of motivation and funding to fix them. It is crucial that we, as students, advocate for ourselves and our peers by emailing our boards, attending town halls, and actively pursuing change.
Here are several ways you can become an upstander in the classroom: Contact a teacher/parent and letting them know. Confront the bully to stop. Convince others to join you in standing up. Shift focus away from the victim.
Written by Aryana Ramos-Vazquez & Trisha Chinnimeni | Edited by Kriti Sundaresa Art by Caitlin Ramiscal | Layout by Firmiana Wang
Women, particularly women of color, are underrepresented in STEM fields. This is a fact reiterated over and over again until it almost loses meaning. 27 percent. Women only make up 27% of STEM workers. It’s a number that continues to increase, but one that is still not good enough. And yet, as the years pass and the proportion of women pursuing STEM fields continues to rise, aspects of toxic STEM culture remain alive within work and academic spaces. As a woman in STEM, you cannot have other interests. Well … perhaps an instrument or art. But once you dabble in humanities and are deemed passable by your peers, you lose the ability to call yourself a STEM kid. This is an unspoken rule. You must choose one, and if you choose to label yourself as someone sufficient in both, the label of STEM kid loses its potency, which is ridiculous. Explore your interests; do it if you want to write on the side and pursue biomedical engineering or get a dual degree in sociology and neuroscience. While this isn’t too much of an issue, it seems, in higher institutions, pursuing the same vein of topics might invalidate your scientific or mathematical prowess in the eyes of your peers, and in those situations, ignore them.
It’s a difficult pill to swallow. Middle and high school are all about social pressures, awkward phases, and trying (and failing) to fit in. But when it comes to STEM classes, the best way to pursue your love for the subject is to keep your head down and forge your own path. And that isn’t to say that you are obligated to remain passive if someone attacks your abilities; on the contrary, you should stand up for yourself. Rather, it’s important to note that unlike the humanities, STEM class culture is filled with comparisons and unspoken rankings based on competition wins and 100’s scored on tests. It’s easy to simply say that those who spread such a toxic idea of success are simply privileged men, but that is not always the case.
Oftentimes, it’s other women or women of color who perpetuate this idea, not out of malice, but to increase their proximity to privileged men. There’s an idea that there are only so many spots for a woman of color in higher institutions or workplaces that it becomes challenging to uplift the women one may view as their competitor. And ultimately, that is still a residual of the toxic comparison culture led by the men of the classroom, who frequently speak over marginalized individuals rather than leaving spaces for them to come forward.
Grades, competitions, and lab opportunities. These are valuable for resumes and get you to where you want to be, but you certainly don't need to be at the top of your class to pursue a scientific field; STEM doesn't have to take over your life and be the number one priority. And it’s anxiety-inducing to be in an academic space where you’re constantly being sized up and compared to your peers; it’s scary to ask questions make mistakes, and it’s frustrating when all of your accomplishments are reduced to gender and race. There is no pretty way to deal with this culture because, ultimately, these are the toxic notions of STEM passed down from parent to child, radical Reddit posts to unsuspecting children.
tio e n p x ectatio s e p n a x ect tions e xp ctat s i o e e xp ctat ns i o e n e xp a t t s c i o e e p n x s e
Written by Devna Panda Layout by Firmiana Wang
I spend quite a bit of my time in my head. We all do. Fantasizing about how various scenarios in our lives might play out. Before I came to college, I found myself considering the many ways that I would “level up” in my life. Yet, as I considered these improvements, I noticed that I was more excited to be validated by others than experience the fulfillment I would undoubtedly receive from creating a life that is wholeheartedly curated to my persona. When would I realize that how my life feels is far more important than how it looks?
Growing up, I had a close-knit group of friends whose parents were also immigrants. Fortunately, our friendship endured from elementary school through high school. It was only once I reached high school that I began to realize how unintegrated my friends and I were from the larger, predominantly white community. As a South Asian girl in these classrooms, I could not shake the pestering feeling that my classmates viewed me as the "other". I had not grown up in the perfect, allAmerican family. We did not eat meatloaf for dinner or go to church on Sundays. I could understand three languages, but I could not explain the rules of football to save my life.
I began solely viewing myself from other peoples’ perspectives, questioning whether how I raised my hand or asked questions in class shaped their perceptions of me. In my mind, my actions might as well have had the sole purpose of contributing to how others saw me. My accomplishments had no intrinsic significance unless others were exalting me as a result. I was rendered a mere observer in my own life.
Thus, when I started emulating my white peers by wearing the brands they wore or making similar references, I did not stop to consider whether I dressed a certain way because it genuinely appealed to me or because I craved the acceptance that the compliments I received would signify. When I looked forward to an event, I would find myself considering what I would caption a post about the event on Instagram. A new opportunity was a potential LinkedIn update, and a particularly aesthetic meal was content for my Snapchat story. In many ways, my primary motivator was other people’s opinions of me regardless of how I personally viewed myself.
As I enter a new phase of life, I try to remind myself as often as possible that my life is about me. I owe that much to myself. These past few weeks have consisted of countless transitions. I sleep in a new room at night. I wake up to new faces in a new environment in the morning. These changes signify that I have the opportunity to create the kind of lifestyle I desire; I can be unfettered by other people’s expectations. While I can hardly say I have rid myself of my former mentality, I am hopeful that realizing this unhealthy mindset will allow me to break free of this thought process. I want to engage in fulfilling activities because they are meaningful to me. I want to prioritize myself and my needs to give myself the life I deserve.
The truth is that I have never felt a lasting sense of satisfaction after receiving a compliment or satisfying another person’s expectations. Only when I have the courage to design a lifestyle that genuinely represents me will I achieve true fulfillment.
HOW TO THRIVE as a woman in stem Written by Leah Suggs Layout by Mehrish Avza
You trudge your way to your first class of the day, the man, the myth, the legend: Organic Chemistry! You spent an hour the night before practicing how to raise your hand and exhibit your enormous intellect by astonishing everyone with your profound insight. However, as soon as you ingest the uncomfortable and stiff air inside the classroom, all of your confidence vanishes. The professor wobbles over to where you’re standing at the front door and pauses, “Are you lost, are you in the right class?” Before you answer, you remember the three-step guide you read last night: How to Thrive as a Women in STEM in College.
Find a mentor who can assist you through the hardships of feeling inadequate or perceived as incompetent due to being the only woman in the classroom. Today, numerous nonprofits and organizations aim to help women in STEM feel empowered and prepared to shatter the glass ceiling. On many school campuses, there are a variety of student organizations and clubs that can pair you with a mentor or connect you to other women in STEM.
Raise your hand as high as a skyscraper and ask questions in class if you're confused or need further explanation on a concept. Unfortunately, sometimes we tend to perceive asking questions as a weakness. However, being inquisitive mainly demonstrates your passion for the subject. If you don't feel comfortable asking a question in front of other people, attend your professor's office hours, where you can have a one-on-one Q&A. Office hours are often listed on course syllabi or introduced by the professor.
Participate in class discussions! Your brain is a diamond, so let it shine. Don't be afraid to voice your thoughts in a class discussion—that's what discussions are meant for. Lily Myers once said, "I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word sorry," in her slam poem, "Shrinking Woman." Historically, women have been more likely to apologize or shame themselves without reason when participating in class—a cycle we must collectively break.
Wear your favorite clothes, speak your mind, and recognize how amazing you are. The amount of times you may stutter from nervousness or the number of times you answer a question incorrectly does not define you. Ultimately, what matters, in the end, is the drive we possess and the confidence we have in ourselves.
7 graduated from college with a STEM-related degree in 2016. While this number may be daunting, we can use it as motivation to step forward and pursue change. Ignite the path you wish to walk.
A LETTER TO
THE GIRL WHO CAN Written by Julianne Tenorio Layout by Kateri Arano
to the girl who marveled at her mother's laboratory textbook at age 5 those daunting words seemed to spring out from the pages and attack your fragile mind "you can't comprehend this....you never will" it would eat you alive as you wanted to rip the pages out in frustration each letter and diagram and shape was gibberish to you how could you ever amount to your mother? how could you even become what you want to be? but slowly and surely you blossomed and flourished into a warrior who saw and conquered those silly 12pt font letters applying them like a painter applies their brush to canvas courage into art beautiful, isn't it? to the girl who stumbled over her words in a class of piercing gazes whose hands sweat anytime she was called on to read in class or legs trembled when it was her turn to present you talked too fast you fidgeted too much you'll never be good enough how will you survive? they'll eat you alive yet, these cacophonous voices soon blended into sinfonia as you began to speak as eloquently as you wrote and soon, you broke from the chains of your fear as words tumble out from your tongue scrambled with opinions thoughts ideas everything your mind holds a marvelous chaos only you could create 37
to the girl who cried over her "tarnished" skin and "thin" eyes who refused to speak to her own parents out of sheer embarrassment turnt up her nose at tinola and adobo only because the kids at school laughed and turnt their noses at your lunch how would you achieve your dreams and become the oncologist you've always wanted to to be if others couldn't even look you in the eye? let alone, even touch you or smell you or feel you? were you too dark too skinny too nerdy too exotic too much? or perhaps they thought you were too much for the world to handle how i am so glad you found yourself again and embraced the native soil from which you were born and see your skin and eyes, not with disgust but rather, with delight and lastly, to the girl who never thought she would amount to the boy sitting across from her who still cries over how she might never understand calculus or chemistry i want you to understand do you remember who you were? the girl who marveled at her mother's laboratory textbooks at age 5 the girl who stumbled over her words in a class of piercing gazes the girl who cried over her "tarnished" skin and "thin" eyes you might now be the girl who can't but soon you can and will become the girl who can and i am so proud of the courageous girl you always have been.
courageous? Don’t be afraid of what others think! Being scared of disapproval or embarrassment is only hindering you from doing what you want to do.
Believe in yourself and your abilities. Your brain is constantly working to make the best decisions for yourself, so embrace making choices that seem bold or courageous because you’re fully capable of excelling in whatever you decide to.
Don't be afraid to be ambitious! Taking advantage of your full potential only becomes possible when you push yourself, and learning from mistakes and failure is the greatest opportunity for growth.
Know that failure is not something to be ashamed of: it accompanies every success! We must be willing to take risks and advocate for justice whenever possible.
Acknowledge and accept the obstacles in your life that you want to overcome! A significant aspect of courage is persevering despite the challenges you're faced with.
Layout by Cynthia Zhang
To be courageous is to take a stand for what you believe in, even in the toughest of times— although especially challenging, taking action is necessary for growth.
Courage is not a trait we’re born with; it’s a skill we can all develop. Reflect on your past experiences, be willing to take risks, and aim beyond the stars! You got this!
Reflect on and define your core beliefs. Understand and acknowledge what you must accomplish for your vision to come alive. Fight for what you believe is right, even if it's on a small scale.
the GIRL GENIUS TEAM 40
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THE END OF ISSUE SEVEN
Art by Caitlin Ramiscal