Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — commonly grouped under the acronym STEM — are still largely male-dominated fields. Thankfully, that’s starting to change. More women have graduated with STEM degrees in recent years than ever before, and with female icons like Michele Romanow, young girls have every reason to pursue STEM with confidence and enthusiasm.
Mediaplanet: What advice do you have for girls and women that feel STEM subjects are too difficult?
Michele Romanow: If you want to be part of building the future, being in STEM is one of the most important things you can do. There are so many areas in which you can specialize, so I would encourage women to not be scared. STEM is a field where, with enough time and practice, anyone can be good at it. And I really mean that. Part of the journey is that it’s hard, but that gives you resilience and strength to draw on when you face challenges in your career.
Why do you think women’s representation in STEM is important for the future?
Every industry is being shaped and affected by technology. A background in STEM is essential for understanding how the new economy is going to work — it also gives you complete fluidity and confidence around numbers, which I think has been incredibly important to my success. An understanding of science and technology will allow women to be at the forefront of leading companies of the future.
What is the most rewarding thing about pursuing STEM?
Learning how to solve hard problems. If you want to run the future economy, you need to understand the basics of it, and that is science. There is no question that engineering was hard for me. It was not a walk in the park. But looking back, it was all worth it.
If you’re a woman interested in STEM, know that there’s never been a better time to get involved. With some research, you’re sure to find an option that makes sense for you; there’s a specialty for virtually every interest. Pick a path and pursue it with conviction, because the future of women in STEM is just beginning.