Jill Campbell STEAM Scholarship Scholarship Winner – Carmelina K.

Congratulations Carmelina On Winning The Jill Campbell STEAM Scholarship Scholarship!

Meet Carmelina

My sophomore year, my friend Alejandra and I decided to start the Women Empowerment club at our school because we felt like there needed to be a space for us high school girls, who have so many shared experiences in regards to gender based issues, to actually take action to help the women around us. We did not get approved as a Girl Talk Chapter until my junior year, but before that we had been creating and using our own curriculum. As a club our three purposes are fundraising for women’s charities and causes, empowering the women around us through conversation, and mentoring younger girls through our biweekly Girl Talk meetings.

What is your STEM background?

I have always been an intensely curious person, and I think that is why I love science. I heard someplace that science is defined as “a way of knowing” and I think that perfectly captures all the reasons I love studying it. It started in middle school when I was really involved in the Science Olympiad and I was obsessed with learning all about niche topics in science like freshwater microbiology and thermodynamics. Then in high school I fell in love with Biology through my honors and DC classes with my favorite teacher.

I have been vice president of our Biology club the past three years and I have also been involved in academic Superbowl on the science and math teams, environmental club, and Science Olympiad.

Next year I will be attending the University of Notre Dame and majoring in Biology. I am really excited that I get to spend the next four years challenging myself and studying what I love. After undergrad I want to get a master degree or Phd and then work as a research scientist. I think science is so beautiful and powerful, and I want to spend the rest of my life using that power to help x our daunting environmental and public health issues. Hopefully one day I can even further my impact by serving in a government agency or teaching at a university.

What appeals to you about becoming a woman in a STEM related field?

During the summer I work at a STEM camp for kids where I plan and teach STEM lessons to kids in grades 3 through 5. This past summer we did not have camp because of COVID-19 so I spent the summer babysitting instead. The young girl I babysit is really into science like me so everyday I would put on mini STEM camp for her. We would do experiments and I would teach her about different topics in science.

I want to use science to find solutions to real problems and inspire others to do the same.
And more than anything, I think being a woman in a research position would inspire other girls who were like me who had a bleeding heart for others and the issues affecting our society but also have a powerful scientific mind.

What inspires you to pursue a STEM career?

Ultimately what inspires me to pursue this path is my need to make a difference. I think I have a unique skill set and perspective, and I couldn’t live with myself if I did not at least try to use those things to try and fix the beautiful world around us.