“I want them to see that females can be successful in their personal and professional lives and everyone’s measure of success is different.”
— Jessica Leung ’17 M.E.M.
Throughout college and in my years in the professional world, I have discovered that the path of discovery to one’s passions is rarely linear. In fact, it is a mixture of experiences and meeting the right people. I hope to give back to these students what I lacked in high school, and to encourage them to ask for help and to always be open to learning about new things. As a member of EQUID and personally passionate about education and access for minorities and underserved communities, this event was a perfect blend of my interests.
Also, while in grad school it’s nice to take a break from classes and have the opportunity to get your hands a little dirty in executing an event, especially one that provides positive benefits to the immediate community outside of Yale.
Have you found that many of these high school students are interested in environmental careers?
Leung: Since I am involved in another student mentoring organization on campus called “Many Mentors,” which also seeks to help minority and underrepresented students get interested in STEM fields [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] after high school, I have found that if students are interested in science, often they are more interested in biology, chemistry, engineering or pre-med fields. Not as much knowledge of the environmental field exists among high schoolers. Although I know that some high schools offer AP Environmental Science and this is an entry point for them to gain some knowledge in the field.
What do you hope the high school students take away from the event?
Leung:For one, I hope they learn that it’s okay to ask for help in any regard and admit that you would like assistance. Self-recognition of your abilities is an important asset for life. I want them to see that females can be successful in their personal and professional lives and everyone’s measure of success is different. As the students grow into adulthood, they will learn more about what is important to them and what their measure of success will be.