“Is a penguin a dinosaur?” Dr. Lacovara asks the scholars during his paleontology presentation.
I start nodding no because how can that little creature be related to the ginormous beasts that I saw at The Metropolitan Museum of Art? Fun fact, I was wrong. I was also severely disappointed as all the dinosaur children's books lied that Dimetrodon is a dinosaur.
Just like Dr. Lacovara’s presentation, the whole conference opened my eyes. Dr. Jahan’s urge for women to join the engineering field made me consider my interests, despite my past lack of interest in engineering. All of the speakers shared diverse insights into their fields, which allowed all the students to listen patiently and learn some new careers.
The highlight of the conference was the choices of different STEM classes. Many scholars got their first choice classes, including me. I finally got to learn more about my interests in healthcare through Dr. Lattime’s cancer and immunology lesson which showed the rigor of the evaluation and effort put into the complex concepts inside the human body and cells. Dr. Huntley’s unique profession of studying ocean currents and her rubber ducky story intrigued my side that loves the mystery of the ocean, of which we know only 5%.
The variety of lessons and career choices presented at the Conference in Rowan University for STEM in Academia was one of a kind for every person that got to explore their own and new interests found at the conference.
Written by Diana Stinkova
2021-2022 Governor's STEM Scholar
Diana Stinkova is a senior at Scotch Plains Fanwood High School. She is a president of a 70-member student-led club to teach children about mental health, government, and other significant topics. She had a job-shadowing position with a surgeon, traumatologist, pediatrician, and orthopedist in Ukraine and New Jersey. Due to her deep passion for medical research and uncovering complex medical cases, she plans on studying pharmacology, neuroscience, and pre-med n college. Diana is interested in conducting research on the brain and cellular aging. Outside of research, she likes to dance and represent her Ukrainian heritage through education and performances.