My mother and I were having lunch, discussing where I should focus my future. Working as a research associate in RNA biology, I was asking myself, "What is my direction in life? Where do I want to go from here?"
"When you tutor, you light up. I can tell that you love what you do and the satisfaction you gain from helping others," my mother remarked. And I did. Even the students that were difficult to mold, were stubborn or impatient- eventually they would begin to see improvement and the light in their eyes when they finally understood something or they received a good grade made all the difference.
“What is my direction in life? Where do I want to go from here?”
"Sometimes its about teaching my students to put in the effort. But sometimes I have to tell my students to not be so perfect. That it's ok to fail as long as you are trying your hardest. To not be afraid of trying something new for fear of failure." I was describing one of my brightest students and how I have been convincing her to try competitions for the fun, not for the perfection. "You were the same way!" my mother laughed. "When you did the NASA Mars Settlement Competition the first time, you said you hated it! Then the next year, you came to me and said you wanted to do it again. I was shocked!"
"Yeah I remember. I wish that I could give those same opportunities to some of my students. I know they don't have access or even know that competitions like these exist!"
And there was born the STEM Youth Career Development Program. So many ideas came at once. I wanted to provide mentorship, competition opportunities, career development, real world knowledge of STEM fields, but not stop there. What about entrepreneurship programs? Programs in the arts? I had so many ideas and I wanted to start them all. But one step at a time.