I’ve learnt a great deal over the past four years and I’ve met an amazing network of people from all around Australia. These two aspects of working in STEM are certainly my favourite and they go hand in hand.
There won’t be much time to rest for National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) 2014 alumna Katie Gray when she completes her dual Bachelor of IT and Science (Physics) at the University of Queensland shortly. After finishing her double degree Katie will commence her dream job, a graduate position in data analytics.
Read on to find out more about Katie’s path and why she won’t be ‘jumping ship’ on STEM anytime in the near future.
“STEM is often portrayed as arduous, male-dominated, unprofitable and nerdy. And yet, at the end of Year 12, I decided that I would spend the next four years of my life studying a degree in information technology and physics.
Evidently, I didn’t make my decision based on the labels associated with the fields I was interested in. The NYSF program I attended in 2014 taught me that STEM can be rewarding in many ways and encouraged me to look beyond its perceived shortcomings. I’m now in the last six months of my degree and looking back I can say that yes, some of the subjects I’ve taken have been extremely demanding and the gender ratios in most of my classes still shock me, but I’m also really happy with my decision.
Studying physics and IT has facilitated some excellent experiences. Highlights have included presenting my undergraduate research project at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Physics Conference, working in a team of 50ish people to develop an award-winning computer game, being elected as treasurer for UQ’s Science Undergraduate Student Society and landing a graduate position in my dream job in data analytics.
I’ve learnt a great deal over the past four years and I’ve met an amazing network of people from all around Australia. These two aspects of working in STEM are certainly my favourite and they go hand in hand. My friends and colleagues are clever people I enjoy spending time with and they are always pushing me to master new skills and stretch myself further.
If you’re currently trying to decide between careers, study paths or even just subjects, my advice would be firstly, don’t stress. There’s plenty of valuable work to be done in the world and it’s more than likely that you’ll end up doing some of it. Besides this, if you’re specifically considering STEM, I can tell you that it’s treated me pretty well so far and I don’t plan on jumping ship anytime soon. If you’re willing to be diligent, resilient and thoughtful I think that you’ll probably love STEM, but even if you don’t, worst case scenario is that you’ll be better at one category in trivia! "
Katie has maintained her connection with NYSF, volunteering last year as a Youth Advisor for our NYSF STEM Explorer Program in Adelaide and returning again for this year’s program heading the Youth Advisor team as the STEM Explorer Coordinator. We wish Katie all the best in her new career!