Hey there! I’m Catherine, a member of the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) class of 2019/2023. I’ll writing for Blogside Manner this year, posting updates about the Program, my life as a Brown student, and perspectives on being a STEM student at Brown. Hopefully, I can give some insight into the Brown experience, and see some prospective students on campus in the coming years!
During my first semester, I meet many formidable girls on my Rugby team choosing careers in science and math. This past weekend I had the opportunity to interview one of them, my teammate and sometimes friend, Hannah Yi, to learn more about her perspective on being a student and woman of color in science. Hannah is a Korean-American second year student from Los Angeles who spends a great deal of her time in the science pavilion studying to become a professor.
What are you concentrating in?
Geology-biology. A mix between geology and biology. I focus on how biological processes affect geological systems.
Why did you choose your concentration rather than other options?
I really liked the department in comparison to others with similar fields like ES (Environmental Science). The Geo department is very close, a very familial place. The Professors really care about the concentrators. And, I choose geo because of Jan Tullis, she’s my advisor and a god of the department.
What has been your experience in Science courses at Brown?
It been a mixed bag because some are introductory and some are specific, so you get a lot of different things. Intro courses are not very into who you are as an individual student. Since most of my classes have been within the GeoChem Department or small sections of the Biology department, I can have personal interactions with professors which is awesome. You don’t get that in larger departments.
What is a challenge that you think Women especially Women of Color face in STEM?
I’ve definitely never really had anyone representative of who I was and my style of learning. I’ve never had any science course taught by anyone of my identification. I definitely think the professors try to understand, at least the professors I’ve had. Even looking at the students in class they are not representative or similar to what I identify as. Reason why [the lack of representative professors] is because of that, because of the type of students [studying geology]. Overall it can be pretty frustrating but there are efforts to be inclusive.
What do you think could have improved your experience as a science student at Brown?
At least having someone representative of who I am teaching one the courses, so I can see what I aspire to be is possible. It’s hard when they [the professors] are all white and all male. My classes are not very representative of a lot of stem courses at Brown. It has been pretty great so far and a lot of professors do want to help.
What advice would you give to your first year self
Don’t get too caught up in what your grades may look like. They’re not going to be as perfect, it’s not like high school where A’s are expected. Don’t cry and stress if you got a C. C’s get degrees.
PSA from Hannah : PEOPLE SHOULD TAKE MORE GEO COURSES
*This interview has been edited for clarity and cohesiveness, content has not been changed.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Funny Gifs? Cool New Music?Rugby Jokes? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below! I’ll try to respond as soon as I can!