We asked seven NYU Shanghai women to share their stories and experiences working and studying in the STEM fields. In this piece, we hear from two computer scientists, a neural scientist, the Women Empowered in STEM club president, a neural science major/data science minor, a biology major, and a neuroscience postdoctoral fellow.To get more shanghai women, you can visit shine news official website.
Students Khayla Black, Jessie Zhang, Emily Yip, professors Lihua Xu, Siyao Guo, Li Li, and postdoctoral fellow Evgeniya Lukinova tell us about what sparked their interest in science, their proudest achievements, and the work they’re doing now.
I love research because it’s like walking in the dark and trying to figure out what is there. At some point, you gain a new understanding--a light that makes everything clear and reveals beauty--that is the best moment! Another important part of research is collaboration. We all have our own limits, and by putting people together and collaborating with different perspectives, we can create something much more powerful.
In my own research, I ask questions about computers. We know computers can solve many problems very quickly, but I want to understand what problems they cannot solve and what problems are easy or hard for computers to solve. Once I understand something new, I become a stronger, better person. This process of self-discovery means that I keep growing.
I think the most important thing is: Don't be afraid, and try to reach beyond your limitations. Once you reach your limit, you can go further and further, and the right attitude is to do your best. I think the procedure is actually more important than the results.
I learned this from playing softball. After tons of games, that was my team’s attitude: If you complete every step and try your best and reach your limits, you will gain. Conversely, even if you win a game but you didn't play your personal best, you won’t feel great. Not giving up is a choice--you choose to be positive.
Scientific concepts have always been very interesting to me, like the Bohr model [for diagramming atoms], and the Schrodinger model [for predicting the location of electrons] -- I love learning about the history of these different theories and how they developed and continue to develop.
My interest really started in the 7th grade. For a good portion of my life, I thought my older brother had autism. I wasn't very informed on his condition, and it was only in 7th grade that I found out it was actually trisomy 9. I wanted to learn more about trisomy and became really interested in medicine, genetics, and biology as a whole.
I currently do research in my professor’s lab at ECNU, and I’m learning a lot about different techniques that I haven’t seen in my biology lab classes yet, such as double enzyme digestion or yeast two hybrid assay. I also volunteer and shadow when I go back home to New York. Last summer I volunteered in the ER, and over this past winter break, I shadowed a doctor. Being in a doctor’s cubicle for several hours a day really changes your perspective. I felt motivated to talk to residents and doctors and to envision myself as part of that community.
I’m currently the president of NYU Shanghai’s weSTEM club--Women Empowered in STEM. We want to make STEM approachable and inclusive for everyone, so we had a week of STEM events called ‘It’s not Rocket Science!’ from March 11 to 14. To show that STEM can be fun and interesting, we tried to come up with engaging and easily accessible ways of learning about STEM, like a VR display, a behavioral economics lecture, and writing secret messages with lemon juice.
I was actually inspired by NYU Abu Dhabi’s weSTEM club. I read an article about them holding a conference for female high schoolers to get involved in STEM, which I thought was really cool. I hope our weSTEM club can eventually reach that level of impact.