Monday, September 29, 2014

STEM Chat with Alisha Sarag-Sieminski

STEM chat
STEM chat with Alisha Sarang-Sieminski
September 29 2014
Alisha Sarang-Sieminski, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Director of SCOPE, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
If I could tell a young woman pursuing STEM one thing it would be that when you feel the small slights that happen, or you flinch just a little bit about the way someone says something (sexist), or you feel like your knowledge is questioned, it's not just you. It's part of a larger system and other people experience it too. And other people notice it. You are not alone. And though this may not resonate with you yet, tuck it away somewhere for later when you start to question whether you belong here. And then find yourself some really good allies.

My dream project is to grow really awesome tissue-based models for testing pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

The best advice I ever received was to (this is going to sound cliché) just try things and to believe in myself. Starting from that place helps keep all the little voices in my head telling me I can't do something or I shouldn't do something a little quieter. And takes me in some amazing directions.

I lead by a combination of benevolent dictatorship and consensus. What brings these together is finding the win-win for people as much as possible and being transparent about my motives and constraints. While I'm the one in charge, I also think that all the stakeholders need to be heard.

I'm proud that I have followed my heart and instincts about decisions I have made in my life. There's inevitably a lot of work at every step to make things happen, but leading from my gut has taken me places I wouldn't have expected and has always done me right.

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