Rising Junior Allison came to the Bioengineering for Girls program this summer to study for her future career path in engineering. She's leaving not only with more knowledge about biology and technology, but also with confidence in her creativity and ingenuity. 

I really wanted to explore my different interests and career paths during the summer. When I go to college I want to pursue an engineering degree, because it’s a very good stock and trade in the STEM field. I also find it really interesting and unique that this program is specifically aimed toward girls, because this specific target audience has a unique set of challenges and difficulties that need to be addressed.

In our first makerspace lesson, our instructor, Jon, showed us a hook that is used as a prosthetic. We had to explore what it means to have it in place of a hand and we had to use it to try to do different things. We tried to use the hook to salt and pepper our eggs, and we couldn’t do it. Our makerspace challenge was to modify the hook so we could use it for everyday functions. It was a really interesting journey of freeing our minds to think, “Here’s a problem. Here’s different ways I could solve it. Here’s what I have to work with...I can do this.”

I always knew I was creative, but in high school I became less so because I didn’t really have much time to practice. I didn’t really pay much attention to it because I was so focused on STEM academics. But what I’ve realized here is when I put my mind to something, I am able to do things I never thought I could. In the makerspace we combined science with creativity by using what we learned about how the body works to mimic it in prosthetics.

I am a perfectionist and I’m afraid of failure, so that fear can sometimes overwhelm me and cause me to miss important opportunities. Taking this program has definitely helped me to overcome the fear, to gain more confidence, and to embrace failing so I can learn from it. All of us [in the program] had to fail at some point, especially in the makerspace. I think we all managed to learn from our mistakes and use them to our advantage really well.