Why I Chose STEM

by: Victoria Gomez

Since the fifth grade, I knew I wanted to be a vet. I grew up thinking I’d have a practice and imagined myself putting casts on dogs and making cats feel better. It was this career and the idea of helping animals that sparked my interest in science. Not long after, I got a microscope kit for my birthday that I was obsessed with for years. It came with prepared slides of different fibers and sample animal cells - I felt like such a scientist! The way science encouraged my curiosity helped me find my own answers to the questions I had and find new information on topics that interested me (usually animals) through what I would then consider “research” - picture books at my elementary school’s library.

I followed this interest throughout high school and was persistent on my choice to become a vet because I still really wanted to help animals, but it wasn’t until after a year of being at my university that my perspective changed. I began to think through a more global lens and what I can do to help make the world a better place for both animals and people. I realized I didn’t like the medical field, so my inner scientist searched for different answers. My new motivation was in finding better ways to feed our production animals and pets while making a positive impact on our environment to ensure better futures for new generations. One of the most important things I’ve learned as a science student is that it’s not always about me - it’s about helping to cultivate a better future for people that I will never meet. The science route is difficult, but working through challenges and deriving a better understanding of who I am and my roll in the world has made my choice to work in STEM that much more worth it for me.