Steven's Student Becomes Role Model for Young Women in STEM
Former Bergen County College Valedictorian and current student at Stevens Institute of Technology, Maria De Abreu Pineda, talks about being a role model for other young women interested in the sciences, and how STEM areas offer a incredible variety of employment opportunities for women today.
"Welcome back to life and living. We talk a lot on this program about young women pursuing careers in STEM, that's Science, Technology, Education and Math. Well, our next guest is here to talk about the differences she's seen in American students versus those in her home country of Venezuela. She is Maria De Abreu Pineda. Alumna of Bergen Community College and a current student at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Welcome! Thank you very much. Sorry, long name. Yes. 27 letters. 27 letters! She knows that because you are efficient in STEM. So, let's talk about your journey from Venezuela to America. What brought you here? I was born and raised back in Venezuela, in Caracas. I graduated from high school and right after I graduated from high school, I came here. I came over to New Jersey because my brother was here so he wanted to bring me here. Venezuela, unfortunately, is leaving a very difficult situation and he wanted to take me and my mom here to to have a better opportunity to pursue better educational opportunities and professional opportunities, so I had the chance to come after high school. I started in a community college and then I had the chance to transfer to my current school, Stevens. Bergen Community College, right? Mmmhmm. You came through that program. What was your area of focus? So, back in Bergen, I did engineering and science. So, it was an associates in science and engineering. I did that in two years and a half and then after, right now I'm doing biomedical engineering at Stevens. Were you surprised Maria, when you came here and found that there's such a small percentage of women in the United States who pursue careers in STEM. Definitely. Actually, my first interaction as a woman in STEM was back in Bergen. So, what happened was I noticed that I was the only girl sometimes taking physics and math classes or at least part of a varied group of girls taking those classes. Then I was enrolled in different clubs and organizations related to the STEM field and I noticed the same thing. I also saw a tutor and it was a perfect opportunity for me to, for example, when I was tutoring math and things like that, it was very uncommon to see girls taking those classes and something that came really often was hearing those things like "yeah, I'm not good at this" or "I just never liked this" or "my professor told me I'm not good at this". Things like that. So definitely a huge difference from what I saw back home. How would you..."