Just walking into the New Jersey Institute of Technology's Campus Center gave me the chills: I’m surrounded by some of the smartest future scientists and engineers. As I walked past some tables while looking for mine, I heard words and phrases like “electrical engineering” and “my favorite science class was...” I knew I belonged in the right place. It was the place where I could finally share my loving passion for science with highly motivating and genius students all around my age. Each one of my group members truly impressed me with their unique ambitions and inventions they’ve worked on during their free time, which motivated me to start initiating a passion project myself.
The moment the first set of speakers came in, I didn’t only gratify the honor I was given to be a part of this program, but also to be able to get to hear from such authorities. Their confidence, experiences, and insight on their careers and duties opened my eyes to see that our lives depend on them in one way or another. Businesses, security, and research drive our future as innovation derives from excellence in such fields. Shahram Dabiri's stories definitely highlighted the conference as he brought in humor but also the seriousness within his job in the Department of Defense and his engineering career.
The Alumni Perspective truly encompassed the legacy the Governor's STEM Scholars holds as Ricardo Garcia shared his personal experience and career development thanks to a conference. During an NJIT conference, he got to meet a biomedical engineer and his experience within his major was greatly impacted by that certain representative just by having an interesting conversation about the topic. It’s fascinating to think that such opportunities are available at our fingertips just by being curious in such complex yet significant STEM subjects with professionals that can guide us to our answers.
In the end, my perspective on STEM already broadened by the end of the conference as I got to learn about the knowledge and vital responsibilities political authorities with connections to STEM hold in New Jersey. As a person who enjoys public speaking and is interested in initiating positive change on a bigger scale, STEM in government is something that I look forward to researching as a potential career development. It was very easy to bond with everyone as the curiosity and kindness really showed through during the entirety of the conference during breaks and questionnaires with the speakers.
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.