Success Story: Growing Up In STEM
Inspiration A professor of applied technology shares her insight on the merits of STEM.
Mediaplanet: What inspired you to pursue a future in STEM?
Brandeen McDonald: I have fond memories of helping my dad fix things around the house. He would show me how to do things, or we would puzzle over things together. I also took apart electronics because I was fascinated about the components inside. Dad and I tried to do a science fair project in grade school about electronics. It didn’t work, but my curiosity in electronics was piqued.
MP: What does being an engineer mean to you?
BM: As an engineer, I am able to use my fascination in solving complex problems for the betterment of society. Engineering truly is a helping profession and this is something I feel is often overlooked.
These days I am a professor of engineering and technology at Humber College, because although I loved building control systems, I love building people more. I enjoy knowing that my students are going to be the ones working on technology for the health and happiness of society.
MP: What is the greatest misconception surrounding the applied technology program?
BM: There are many women who avoid entering the applied technology program because they don’t see it as a creative field. But it is! Innovation is at the heart of solving the complex problems of today and tomorrow, and innovation thrives off creativity. Through engineering and technology, we are shaping the world around us, and I hope more women realize that there is a place for them in that.
MP: What advice do you have for young women considering STEM?
BM: I hate when I hear women tell young women that to work in a male dominated field like engineering, they have to be perfect. This scares women away and it’s also not true. If you enjoy it or think you might enjoy it, then just go for it. We need more diverse thinkers like you!