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Stemettes Turns 3: A Mentors Top Three Tips for Aspiring Women in STEM

The following post is based on a speech given at Stemettes’ 3rd birthday celebrations by Yasmine Dankwah, who is currently a Student to Stemette (STS) Sherpee. STS aims to inspire young women into STEM careers by connecting them with a woman in the industry who actively mentors them over four months. The programme is supported by Deutsche Bank

I joined Stemettes because I was generally interested in technology – however, my school’s main focus was engineering and medicine so they did not cater for this area of STEM. For me, applying for Student to Stemette was an opportunity to learn more about technology by talking to actual people and not just relying on Student Room for answers. Overall, I can honestly say that it was the spring in my confidence.

Before I joined the Student to Stemette programme, I had the idea that I’d become a hard-core coder. As the strange, introverted Yasmine that I was, the idea of silence and Python was right up my avenue.

However, when going into Deutsche Bank where the ‘Sherpa/Sherpee’ matching event was held, I quickly found out speaking was going to be a prominent occurrence and getting my ideas across was something I had always found difficult to do.

But when networking with potential sherpas, though at times my ideas didn’t seem like they made sense, it was surprising how people not only understood but were fascinated by my obsession with virtual worlds, and the Oculus Rift. Fortunately enough, I was lucky to have Emmi, my current Sherpa, to have chosen me to be her Sherpee and have her understand my virtual obsession as well as my desire to write creatively. I can honestly say without having Emmi as a Sherpa, there would be opportunities that I would not have had the confidence to take part in, like Network Rail’s Could IT Be You scheme and the BFI Film Academy.

She encourages me to take all the opportunities I have been given, and ensures that I enjoy and engage with my experience, simply by just…speaking.

Throughout my Student to Stemette journey (which is continuing), I found out that:

  • One, I did not want to be a coder, nor have anything to do with Python, instead UX design seemed to appeal more to me;
  • Two, developers do talk to people- it’s a large part of their job, (of any job in fact!). And it is essentially, by using your voice that confidence can be built; and
  • You don’t need a Computer Science degree to get into technology – just a passion.
Sherpa Stemette Yaz speaking at Stemettes’ 3rd Birthday Celebrations

And my advice to future Sherpees would be:

  • You don’t have to be a STEM expert, although I did meet a girl in my cohort who could count in binary (I have to admit, it was impressively intimidating!), but just have the desire to learn about it!
  • Ask your Sherpa about opportunities offered and conferences you could attend (networking is the keyword on the Student to STEMette programme)
  • There is always room for a different perspective- speak up and be heard!

Finally, technology isn’t a stand-alone term; it comes in combinations. For example, technology and business technology and medicine, and even creative writing and film. I now realise that I do still want to be a part of a growing tech industry but through words, graphics and virtual environments thanks to Stemettes!

I hope I can be a part of the future of Stemettes, and encourage other girls and women to go into sectors of STEM!

Happy Birthday to Stemettes!

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