Stephanie Quon has had an incredible career path, and it’s just the beginning.
Award the Gold Medal Student Award in 2022 by Engineers Canada, when Stephanie Quon was still in 3rd year at University. She attends the University of British Columbia (UBC) and is part of the Women in Engineering and UBC’s engineering society.
Stephanie has gone through a lot in her short yet full career. She gives her insights to women, especially BIPOC women, interested in a STEM career. Her insights are great for anyone who wants to know what it’s like for a woman in STEM. Here are five magnificent pieces of advice from a Gold Medal engineering student.
follow the path your heart and head leads you on.
Stephanie shared her perspective on the importance of following one’s heart and mind when choosing a career path. Her father, who was an electrical engineer, sparked her inspiration to pursue engineering.
“My father was an electrical engineer, and I remember always bringing inspired thinking about extensive engineering projects. The engineering of projects like the International Space Station, the Panama Canal, and bridges and airplanes have always fascinated me. It was so inspiring and incredible that people could come up with such incredible projects, and I wanted to be part of those kinds of projects in my life.
Stephanie’s interest in engineering was driven not only by these impressive projects but also by the technology that surrounds us. She explained, “being surrounded by technology that engineers designed was inspiring for me.”
Stephanie found it magical how different components could work together to create something like a computer or phone. She also expressed her interest in working on accessibility-based projects in the community. She stated, “I was also really interested in working on assisted devices or, more like, accessibility-based projects in the community.”
Stephanie’s story is a testament to the power of following one’s passions when pursuing a career. By following a career in engineering, she has been able to contribute to society while working on projects that inspire her.
you don’t have to be afraid to ask for help.
Successful leaders understand the importance of seeking help and support, and Stephanie’s experiences provide an interesting example. Throughout her university career, she sought new opportunities and support, recognizing the significance of these factors in achieving her objectives.
As she embarked on new projects, Stephanie admitted feeling uncertain and anxious about rejection. Yet, she found that people were more than willing to assist her by introducing her to others, providing financial opportunities, and serving as mentors. Her success, thus, depended on her abilities and the help she received from her support network.
Reflecting on these experiences, Stephanie emphasizes the importance of perseverance and not giving up, especially when finding support appears difficult. She stresses the value of building a robust support system and seeking help when needed, which can be critical for anyone’s growth and success.
Stephanie’s experience shows the importance of seeking help and developing a solid support network.
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find your role model.
Someone that Stephanie always looked up to throughout her journey was Mae Jemison. Mae Jemison is an engineer, doctor, and former NASA astronaut from the United States. When Jemison worked as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992, she became the first Black woman to visit space.
Stephanie stressed the significance of representation and the value of seeing oneself as a role model. “Her story is so inspiring to me. Like many women, especially women of colour, she has struggled to get through her degree and how she now represents women in engineering. It’s important for people, especially women, to have role models to see themselves in someone,” she explained.
As Stephanie put it, “Mae Jemison is someone I can see myself in, and I think it is important to have role models in which you can see yourself. Jemison inspires me to shoot for the stars—literally.”
get involved with your community.
As an advocate for community involvement, Stephanie stresses the importance of social activities that benefit the community.
Her dedication to mental health and well-being advocacy and on-campus initiatives at the University of British Columbia (UBC) exemplifies her commitment to making a difference. Stephanie has found her niche in accessibility projects, which has given her a sense of pride and personal growth.
“I am especially proud of my work on accessibility projects.” She explains that, “federal grants fund accessibility projects in collaboration with community partners support this work. I would contact various community groups to determine their accessibility needs, such as accessible beach chairs for wheelchairs. I would then collaborate with organizations to secure the funding and carry out the projects.”
Stephanie also emphasized the significance of these projects’ positive impact on the community and her own personal development. “Seeing these projects come to fruition has been extremely rewarding for me. It’s been an incredible privilege to get involved and be welcomed into the community to work on those projects, and I’m very proud of it.”
Stephanie’s experience underscores the importance of community involvement in personal and professional development.
don’t allow challenges to stop you.
Stephanie also highlights female students’ challenges in STEM, including the lack of representation and gender-specific facilities.
She sometimes found it challenging to be heard in a male-dominated environment and felt pressure to change who she was to fit in. Yet, she discovered the importance of finding a community of women in engineering. Seeing this sense of community gave her a sense of belonging and support. The gold medalist student explained, “what helped was finding a community of women in engineering.”
Despite these challenges, Stephanie believes that they have become empowering. She had the opportunity to connect with successful women in STEM and gain inspiration from their stories. “You can definitely do it, and there’s a place for you here,” she beamed.
Stephanie advises other aspiring female engineers to be true to themselves and not feel pressured to conform to a specific stereotype. She believes it’s possible to succeed in this field while staying true to your identity. She says, “you don’t need to change; you can be yourself and succeed in engineering.”
supporting the careers of BIPOC women.
Careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) increasingly offer employees stability, pay and opportunities that outpace other industries and occupations.
However, women lack representation in STEM. If you want to see your potential in this field and find a job that works for you, Randstad Canada is here to help you.
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