Kelly Stevens earned her Master's Degree in Mathematics from Virginia Tech. Here she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I'm working to figure out to make a new kind of computer. I solve tricky interesting problems all day long. I love computer programming.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
A child that is proud to solve "difficult" puzzles (like word search or sudoku) might have an early aptitude. Another indicator would be stubborn persistence because this turns into an ability to focus on one tough problem for a long time.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
As a very young child my father let me "help him" fix the car, tinkering on the computer, fix things around the house, build a business. His willingness to teach me these things indicated to me that there was no gender barrier. He also taught me the value of hard work by employing me in his landscaping business from age 10-18.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
By middle and high school I was doing well in math. My initial choice of STEM for a field coming out of high school was mainly driven by desire to have stable finances as an adult.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
We play with lasers.
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Scientists need a lot of creativity. Many women are naturally creative, so it's great to be able to bring that to the workplace. The best part about doing science is that you are creating something that is both beautiful (creative) and useful. It feels great to discover something new every day.
Thank you for contributing, Kelly!
Women in STEM, we invite you to take our survey. You'll inspire young girls and contribute to the success of the STEM Girls Books series!