Friday, November 6, 2015

Her College Story: Budding Scientist Chooses a Women’s College

Budding Scientist Chooses a Women’s College
By Mercedes Adame
Scripps College
Class:  2018
Major: Human Biology Major (Pre-Med)

As a high school student, I had a solid idea as to what career I wanted to pursue. The activities I was involved in such as working at Kaiser Permanente and conducting research at Children’s Hospital, along with my community’s health issues, shaped the current goals I have. I knew from the start that my ultimate goal was to become a physician because I wanted to directly address the needs of my community.

However, when I revealed my future plans to my community members, I was disappointed and shocked to receive discouraging comments. I was told that it would be very difficult for a woman of color to achieve this profession. Family friends, teachers, and fellow classmates cited discouraging acceptance rates for Hispanic women in medical schools. Although they were stating facts, I expected differently of my community. I expected them to tell me that as a Mexican woman, I would be able to become a physician. I expected them to tell me that I should break barriers and to prove the statistics of the Association of American Medical Colleges incorrect.

Therefore, I searched for an environment where women interested in pursuing careers in the sciences would be supported. I wanted an environment where my opinion would be valued; where I would have women as role models. For this reason, I decided to attend Scripps College.

 As a Scripps College Academy scholar in high school attending summer science camp, I knew that Scripps would be the right place. I knew that Scripps would be a place where I would be able to develop my voice; where I would be confident in expressing my thoughts, fearless of what others might say. At Scripps, I am respected and regarded as a ‘scientist’. I am encouraged and guided. Because of my experiences with SCA, Scripps became my second home.

While participating in the Math and Science Scholars program, I was exposed to Professor Nancy Williams’ research. In her lab, I was able to experience the rigor of the sciences at Scripps. The main focus of her research is to develop new catalysts useful for developing low-carbon fuels. Our particular project focused on the design of a new compound designed to break the chemical bonds in natural gas, in order to produce methanol as a cheap, low-carbon fuel.

Overall, this experience showed me that I was able to ‘do’ college level science. As a result, as a science major, I am glad that I am attending a women’s college!

                                                     © 2015 Mercedes Adame

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