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I value my science education for two reasons: it is a critical jumping point towards my career goals and because science changes my way of thinking.
My experience in STEM classes allows me to hone my skills and explore fascinating subjects that continually inspire me to learn and work towards my goals. In particular, science enables me to strive for a career in computer science. In the future, I hope to be able to use artificial intelligence to solve the urgent problems that humans are currently unable to solve. Researchers in this field will need tremendous curiosity and ability to be able to maximize current computing power to develop these algorithms. My experience working with computer models and simulations in chemistry class inspired my interest in the field.
Later, I completed a summer internship at the Applied Physics Laboratory on this subject. At the internship, I developed and tested my own algorithms with the guidance of experienced professionals in the field. I learned valuable technical skills in programming and linear algebra as well as important personal skills such as networking and project planning. The basis for my interest and goals for my STEM career originated with the science classes that encouraged me to pursue my curiosities. The iterative approach to problem solving and the critical thinking skills emphasized by science classes are the same skills that are used in the professional science workplace. Using and practicing theses skills in class gives me the confidence to be able to engage in scientific endeavors outside of class and prepares me for a fulfilling STEM career.
Learning science changed my focus from getting the correct answer to engaging deeper with the concepts. When I was a freshmen, I tried to study for biology tests by attempting to memorize words from a textbook. Quickly, this approached failed because I was not getting the results I wanted and the class was not enjoyable. However, listening to class discussions and participating in labs changed my perspective. Once I started to explore the “why” as well as the “what”.
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