2022 Jill Campbell STEAM Scholarship Awardee – Maggie Cooney!

Congratulations Maggie On Being Awarded the Jill Campbell STEAM Scholarship!

Meet Maggie

I am a triplet and going into middle school, the only people I really knew were my siblings. It was a rough transition, but finding Girl Talk was the best thing that could have happened to me. I was a member of Girl Talk in middle school, which introduced me to some of my best friends and co-leaders of my chapter. Together we took on the chapters from our leaders, whom we had gotten to know really well. Since sophomore year I have been a leader of my chapter. I became a leader at the craziest time possible, as our chapter was struggling to stay alive via quarantine and zoom meetings. We got through it, and have grown our chapter to nearly its biggest size yet. Additionally, I was a councilor at Girl Talk camp this summer. It was such an amazing experience. Getting to meet the people that help to keep this program so special made me even more thankful for all Girl Talk has done for me. This is my seventh year with this organization. Not only have they made me into the person I am today, but they have given me the amazing support group that is my chapter.

What is your STEAM background?

I have always been interested in science and art. In middle school, I was the kid who made geology study guides for fun and went to epidemiology camp. I competed in art competitions and lived in the art room. Freshman year, I found a way to mix the two. Covid was in its early stages when i discovered the rabbit hole that is ancestry.com. I spent the next year tracing my ancestry back to the year 800 AD, meticulously documenting each discovery. This was my first introduction to research, which I found to be the perfect combination of creativity and logic. Through trial and error, I learned the importance of verifying sources and maintaining a skeptical approach. I learned to love the math of figuring out compound growth in my family tree and the discovered my passion for genetics. The summer following my sophomore year led me to the Governor’s Honors Program for art. There, I minored in science where I met my geology professor. He was an excellent mentor, and allowed me to give a presentation on African cave archaeology and geology, in particular the dating techniques that are being used to connect the two. During my junior year, I took AP Environmental Science and AP Calculus. I loved both, which has further cemented my decision to major in a STEM field. Though my interests in STEAM are varied, they all revolve around an interest in problem-solving, and the creativity and logic that comes with it.

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

I like the thought of pushing past where women I know and look up to have been. I have opportunities they couldn’t have dreamed of, and I want to take advantage of that. My grandma was not allowed to go to college, despite graduating a year early with big aspirations. The next generation, my mom went far, attending dental school as a clear minority among a classroom of men. I want to go farther. Sixty percent of all college students are women. If the women in my life achieved so much with far less opportunity, I owe it to them and myself to pursue a field I love despite the obstacles I may face.

What inspires you to pursue a STEAM career?

STEAM is the word responsible for the “undecided” status soon to be decorating my college applications. My interests, though different in discipline, all fall under that umbrella. Choosing one seems impossible. Geology, genetics, art, and calculus are more than a class to me. These are the subjects that I can talk about for hours, as my family will attest to (they have sat through many such conversations). No matter what I do in the future, STEAM is part of who I am. I will always pull on those skills, and I look forward finding the career that challenges me to do so.