Hi readers! Super excited to announce that I’m in the May issue of Girl Power Mag! The magazine is sold on stands in Australia and can be purchased worldwide online! Girl Power is such a positive and empowering news outlet. I’m honored to be featured in the Goals Issue. Thank you Girl Power Mag for inspiring girls everywhere to achieve their goals.
Navigating the Science Fair World
Insider tips to finding science fairs in your area and how to excel on the judging floor.
Science fairs are a fantastic medium for sharing independent research and expanding your STEM network. From the incredibly driven students in the competition to the amazing professionals who volunteer to judge the projects, science fairs encompass learning opportunities from every angle. I recently competed in the New York City Science & Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) and was honored to receive awards as a finalist. I learned everything I know about science fairs from my friend and fellow intern at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Ralph! Below I’ll be sharing some tips from Ralph and of course, the tips I’ve acquired competing on the judging floor!
- Find your local fair and pay attention to deadlines. Stay organized while conducting your research to develop a comprehensive paper. The Society for Science and the Public has an awesome fair finder resource!
- In addition to competing in your local fair, there are other STEM competitions to apply to! Competitions include Siemens and Intel STS.
- At the competition, stay hydrated! Bring snacks and a water bottle as long as food/drink is allowed at the fair. Always check the guidelines before arriving!
- Print your poster board at least a week before the fair to ensure it is mistake-free and you are comfortable presenting with it.
- Stay confident while presenting! Yes, presenting at a fair can be intimidating, especially if it is your first time! Turn your nervous energy into excitement! Be proud of your work!
- Wear comfy shoes! You will most likely be standing at your board for the entire duration of the fair.
- Try to relieve stress before the fair by listening to music and/or stretching. My fave playlist is Pop Chillout on Spotify.
Shirt- American Eagle
Awards Ceremony Look-
Shoes- Thalia Sodi (Macy’s)
If you have any advice that you would like to share on scistrut.com, connect with me on social media!
#STEMSPOTLIGHT : MEET DARA
Dara Godfrey is a registered dietitian who empowers her patients to lead healthy lifestyles. Attaining a Masters in Nutrition at New York University, Dara is a role model for all girls aspiring to receive a graduate degree in a STEM-related field. In addition to encouraging individuals to set goals for health and happiness, Dara contributes to many articles in media outlets such as Cosmopolitan Magazine and Self Magazine.
Check out Dara’s interview for her thoughts on women in STEM, managing health in college, and superb advice! For more, follow Dara on Instagram @daragodfrey for a vibrant feed of health/fitness inspo and adorable moments of her two daughters!
Do you have a major diet No-No’s when it comes to crash diets or other fads targeted at teens?
Anything that’s a ‘diet’ implies something short term and often something drastic. I’m not into any diet that cuts out any food group, is too restrictive or doesn’t allow you to chew your food (that means no juice cleanses!). Skipping meals, using laxatives and/or vomiting post meals are all big ‘No-no’s.’
And diets targeted at teens are especially scary. Dieting can create unhealthy eating habits and can ultimately lead to major eating disorders. Everyone needs fats, carbohydrates and protein as part of their daily meals to be healthy.
Teens should focus on eating a variety of food and realize that being healthy and fit isn’t a fad or a trend. It’s a lifestyle.
What’s your advice for turning the freshman fifteen into the freshman clean?
Going in with a game plan is key! I work with a lot of teens before they go off to college to help them prep for their freshman year. Many of them have never been grocery shopping by themselves. Going to a supermarket, getting comfortable with the environment, and giving them some basic ideas of good food choices (especially practical food items for living in dorm rooms), will help set them up for better eating habits while away from home.
There are a lot of potential food temptations in college – lots of unlimited fast food items in and around campus. Knowing how to navigate a typical cafeteria, food trucks and other meal spots around campus can help teens make better food choices. I always tell my patients – it’s about planning ahead and making some goals, but not beating yourself up for not eating ‘perfectly’ 100% time. It’s about progression, not perfection!
How do you prevent overeating stemming from school and workplace related stress?
Not having your ‘triggers’ around your dorm room, house or desk at work,
is the first step to helping avoid overeating. So that means throwing out any foods that may be eaten (often in excess) when you’re stressed, bored or not thinking straight. On the other hand, stocking your fridge and pantry with healthy options make it less likely to overindulge.
Another thing to keep in mind is to try and manage stress in a healthier way. Calling someone positive to help clear your head and relax may be a way to help decrease stress. A workout or even a quick dance party is another means to build endorphins, or the ‘positive’ feelings in your body. Just taking some time to do something for yourself (that makes you feel good and is non-food related) is crucial when you’re super stressed. You do NOT need to turn to food. That can often heighten one’s anxiety.
Also, if you tend to overeat, or eat more poorly with certain types of friends, try and make an effort to do non-food related activities with them. Don’t surround yourself with people who want to sabotage your healthy habits. They should be supportive of you.
If you could tell your 16-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t feel bad to be independent and take time for yourself. Being unique is a good thing. And make sure to do the things that truly make you happy.
Have you encountered any challenges as a woman in STEM? If so, what is your advice for combating stereotypes in STEM and for breaking the gender barrier in this field?
I’ve been fortunate to have had many positive experiences over the years as a dietitian, especially being a woman. I do wish dietitians, in general, had more respect as a field in science. We work hard to receive our accreditation (schooling, training/internship, clinical exams, etc.), and it would be great to be treated equally for our skills and expertise as part of the interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.
Note: After a four week hiatus on this blog, I am thrilled to return with an amazing interview with Dara. Dara is so inspiring and sweet! I have been working on new projects and endeavors; in STEM and in journalism. If you have any questions or are seeking advice in STEM, fashion, writing, etc., connect with me on social media!
Friday Research Look
This leather jacket with a unique woven vest pattern is perfect for adding a pop of color to a sophisticated look. I also wore this jacket to my Stanford Interview! This jacket is available at H&M along with the pictured black turtleneck. I’m currently analyzing data for my research so this flare skirt from LF works for stage I am at for the study. The booties are from BooHoo USA.
I’m so excited for fashion week! I can’t wait to cover the best looks from the FW16 shows!
New Features on Scistrut.com
New year = new features on the blog! This year, focus on being the best version of yourself. Instead of sticking to only a general positive New Year’s resolution, encourage yourself to constantly try your best. Do something everyday to inspire yourself and help someone do the same. I’ve compiled a list of the most cutting-edge and competitive STEM summer programs across the country so you can turn your passion into action. I am so excited for you to release your full potential and see what amazing contributions you can make to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Get ready to make 2016 your most productive, innovative, and exciting year yet! Continue to reach out via social media or in the comments section for advice. It is so exciting to connect with you!
Happy New Year Scistrutters!
#STEMSpotlight : Meet Christine
Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to announce that I am launching a new #STEMSpotlight feature where I highlight the lives of incredibly inspiring women rocking the field. I’m kicking off my #STEMSpotlight series with Christine T. Schwall who is one of the most stylish biochemists out there!
Christine- A self-proclaimed “science geek meets fashionista foodie” who is best known for her sweet and bubbly personality and trendy style.
How did you know you wanted to become a scientist?
I have always been interested in science- I loved the biology and chemistry classes that I took in high school and I also completed a three year research program in high school that introduced me to the basics of designing and completing experiments as well as writing up research papers and presenting results. This drove me to become a biology major (with chemistry and sociology minors) in college and my passion for science and completing research only grew from there. I love to understand how diseases develop and the processes behind how anything works, especially the human body. I think I was pushed even more towards science because my brother was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes when he was in third grade and I was in sixth grade; I wanted to find a cure and help people living with this disease. The desire to help people was strengthened when my father was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and passed away during my sophomore year in college. I love that scientists are pushing research forward, finding cures, and making differences. They may work behind the scenes, but they are making amazing discoveries and I wanted to be a part of that.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your PhD?
I think that the biggest challenge was staying motivated throughout the entire process. For most science-based PhD programs, it takes 5-7 years to obtain your PhD (I received mine in 5 years). After being in an undergraduate program for 4 years, it is hard to not become burnt out as the process continues (at minimum that is 9 years of continuously being in school). It is also challenging to stay motivated when you are planning and executing experiments and they either do not work or the results are not what you are anticipating. It can become very frustrating very quickly, which definitely makes a lot of people re-think continuing in their program. However, I was very fortunate to have some greatly supportive colleagues and we would have trouble-shooting meetings and social outings to keep morale up and our research moving in the right direction.
How do you prepare for a lab meeting, presentation, or research symposium?
I think that the answer to this question definitely varies from person-to-person, but I like to prepare the presentation or poster as far in advance as possible. That way, I can read through it and practice it in front of other people (or in my own head) and you become more comfortable with the material and what you want to say. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received for preparing an oral presentation is to write out explicitly what you want to say (word-for-word) for the first couple of slides. This is because you tend to be nervous at the start of the presentation, before you “get into your groove,” and it helps to have these first few slides memorized cold so that you can go into the presentation feeling confident and knock it out of the park! For a poster-based presentation, I like to print out my poster on one sheet of paper and look over it often, trying to anticipate the types of questions that people will ask me. Also, this is not really preparation advice, but during a poster session I love to ask people their backgrounds before I begin the “presentation” so that I can try to tailor my talk to what they will find most interesting and so that I do not focus on background information with which they are probably already familiar.
What’s your favorite fashion accessory?
Ah, this is such a hard question- how can I just pick one? Do handbags count? I definitely have a bag obsession and am always searching for my next go-to bag. My all-time favorite bag is a slouchy Michael Kors handbag in a gold snakeskin print; it is the perfect accessory to glam-up any look and it is my go-to weekend bag (and I have had it for about 4 years!). That said, right now I am loving the backpack trend and just bought a super adorable backpack made with gray felt and black shearling and faux- leather accents from the Adam Lippes for Target collection that just came out!
If you could go back in time to give your 16-year-old self advice, what would it be?
I would definitely tell her to speak up, be herself, and don’t be afraid of what other people think. I was painfully shy as a child and only started to find myself and grow into my personality later in high school. At that point, everyone with who I had grown up knew me as the “shy, smart” girl and it was hard to break out of that shell and become the more outgoing person that I am today. I wish I had allowed myself to grow and share my true self with others at a younger age, but I am glad I had supportive friends in college who completely allowed me to grow into the person I am today! I want all girls, no matter their age, to dream big and follow those dreams; make them a reality. At the same time, don’t let other people peg you as something you are not and always allow yourself to take the path that may seem “off course.” Be open to opportunity and see where life takes you! As long as you make sure to always be true to yourself, everything else will fall into place.
Thanks for reading!
This is the first week of my #MotivationMonday series! Every Monday I’ll share what I have been listening to, practicing, and generally recap you on my week. So here’s my first edition of #MotivationMonday
The First Lady’s Day of the Girl Playlist on Spotify
In honor of the Day of the Girl, Michelle Obama released a girls empowering playlist to raise awareness for girls education. The playlist features a mix of female legends ranging from Beyoncé to Diana Ross. In response to her new movement in partnership with UNICEF’s global goals, I shared my #62MillionGirls post featuring my friend, Sydney Williams. Sydney and I both conducted cancer research over the summer. We filmed a cancer research video that will be released in December, so stay tuned!
Besides from practicing my AP Calculus BC derivatives and chain rule, I practiced Y7 yoga with beauty, health, and fitness guru, Hannah Bronfman to celebrate the re- launch of the new hbfit.com ! It was my first time trying Y7 and I loved the relaxed studio atmosphere. I highly recommend it!
Xoxo, thanks for reading! Stay tuned for next week’s motivation Monday!
I am so excited to announce my collaboration with Modern Boffin! Modern Boffin is a new clothing line inspired by all things STEM! Mari, Modern Boffin Founder, is currently a doctoral candidate where her research interests include the retention and persistence of women and minorities in STEM education. Mari is increasing awareness for the need for underrepresented groups in STEM! Besides from creating super fashionable designs, Mari is donating a portion of her proceeds to STEM educational programs! She is a role model for girls everywhere pursuing careers in STEM. Check out modernboffin.com to shop the looks and follow @modernboffin on social media! I had so much fun shooting pieces from the collection.
Astronaut Selfie Tee
This is my favorite shirt from MB! I love how you can see the astronaut’s perspective.
I styled this tee with a denim jacket. I love how Mari shaped the L with a space shuttle.
This tee is the ultimate MB tee! A Boffin is a scientist, engineer, or other person engaged in technical or scientific work.
Thank you so much Mari and Modern Boffin for letting me collaborate!