I am lucky to be one of the students WISEST has impacted. I knew since I was a little girl that I loved learning and thought that I might like to be a scientist, but I didn’t really know any scientists apart from Bill Nye. I wondered what a scientist looked like, what they did everyday, and how they arrived at that career. My first encounter with WISEST was at the Choices Conference for sixth grade girls, where I got to see that scientists look surprisingly like everyone else, and maybe even a little bit like me.
My next experience with WISEST was being accepted to the Summer Research program for Grade 11 students. During orientation, I was told that as a women in STEM, we were important and, moreover, necessary to the scientific community. In hearing this, it made me feel that not only was I interested in science, but that the science community was interested in me. It was during the Summer Research Program that I remember feeling that I had found people I belonged with, and where I could see the potential that my future might hold.
Since the Summer Research program in 2013, I have graduated from the University of Alberta with an honours degree in chemistry, written 130 lab reports, worked in three research labs, became a volunteer, lead a student group, and have now started a new journey to become a physician. The achievements I could only dream of at 16 years old have become a reality, and I will be forever grateful that WISEST gave me the early exposure to STEM that helped start me on my journey.
Apart from encouraging me academically, WISEST has also provided me with a wonderful community and a network of support. I am so thankful for the impact WISEST has had on me, and I sincerely hope I can see WISEST continue its invaluable work for women in STEM for many years to come.