STEM CONNECT Profiles

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Kendry Arrazcaeta Duray

Hometown: Madison, NE
High school: Madison High School
Major: Computer Science
Semester Selected: Spring 2022

Kendry Arrazcaeta Duray

What inspired you to pursue STEM? From a young age, I have always been interested in technology. I always knew that I wanted to have a career in that field and am not pursuing that!

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Bill Gates since he was able to establish Microsoft as a leader in the technology space by capitalizing on new technologies and started it all from his garage.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? To go ahead with it! STEM provides so many opportunities and offers a very diverse field of career paths.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? Connections with peers and faculty that will benefit me as I progress through my career.

Michael Bean

Hometown: Bellevue, NE
High school: Bellevue West
Major: Mathematics
Semester Selected: Fall 2020

Michael Bean

What is your dream job in STEM? Statistician or data scientist.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? I feel that STEM is sometimes seen as being rather rigid and noncreative, but it does have plenty of opportunities to do something unique. There are parts of STEM that are machine-like, but that doesn't mean it lacks creativity.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? At least try it out. If you don't want to commit to a STEM major, why not start with a minor and if you like it pursue it further? If you chose not to, just make sure that you won't regret it later.

Abbegail Bowers

Hometown: Lincoln, NE
High school: Lincoln Southwest High School
Major: Physics
Semester Selected: Spring 2021

Abbegail Bowers

What’s your dream job? My dream job is to do research and experimental physics. I would love to work in a lab and apply my physics education to scientific research.

What inspired you to pursue STEM? I have always had a passion for science and for understanding how the universe works. I wanted to learn the most basic foundation for the laws that govern our world, by using physics and mathematics.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? I just finished a 2.5 year research project with Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy- Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy. It was an amazing experience and I learned that I have a passion for geology.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? My high school teacher Mr. Monroe, who fostered my love for science and let me engage in research at a young age. I also look up to my Professor Reinhard and Professor Harrison of Southeast Community College for their amazing teaching of astronomy and geology.

What excites you about STEM? That it is always changing and advancing as our future progresses.

Nataliya Brana

Hometown: Lincoln, NE
High school: Northeast High School
Major: Electrical Engineering
Semester Selected: Spring 2021

Nataliya Brana

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why?: Professor Jim Lewis. He is very helpful, and I always can come to him and ask for an advice.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? Don’t be scared to pursue what you like!

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I am looking to get more connections and fellowship with students with similar majors.

Kaleb Buck

Hometown: Columbus, NE
High school: Lakeview
Major: Computer Science
Semester Selected: Spring 2022

Kaleb Buck

What inspired you to pursue STEM? A cyber day at a community college inspired me to pursue cyber security. They had us find IP addresses of other machines around us. It sparked the thought that I could pursue this field as long as I work for it. I have been pursuing all the opportunities that I can to develop this career.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to a co-worker at Behlen Manufacturing. His name is Bryan Cheever, but he has great work ethic and has shown that you can do anything you put your mind to.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? Don't knock it until you try it. People who don't pursue STEM, usually state they don't think they could do it. I felt that way to, but I decided to ignore those worries and try anyways. I still get those thoughts, but every time I keep going, keep trying, I'm grateful that I went down this path.

What excites you about STEM? Cybersecurity excites me the most. Especially social engineering. You'd be amazed how simple it is to get access to a secure building. I've also recently been hired by a big company and they're security is so cool. I am incredibly excited about that.

Jayden Carlon

Hometown: Bellevue, NE
High school: Bellevue East High School
Major: Computer Engineering
Semester Selected: Fall 2021

Jayden Carlon

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Neil deGrasse Tyson was a big influencer in me being interested in STEM growing up. I would actively watch videos he puts out or videos about him just so I could learn from him.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? I would say that it truthfully is possible to succeed and do really well in this field even when it seems really challenging or if you think you just aren't capable of succeeding in it. I would say that if you are able to put in the time and effort any one can become really knowledgeable at any subject related to STEM. So don't give up right away.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? That you don't need to know everything or be the smartest person around. A lot of people in the STEM field are still learning new things all the time, even now. Its more about being able to learn as opposed to how intelligent you think you are.

Philip Chohon

Hometown: Wahoo, NE
High school: Bishop Neumann
Major: Computer Engineering
Semester Selected: Spring 2020

Philip Chohon

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? Space travel is the project in STEM that is the most fascinating.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Elon Musk, because he is doing exciting things that impact humanity in amazing ways.

What excites you about STEM? STEM is on the edge of humanity's knowledge, and it is where new and interesting things are being discovered and created.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? Being part of a community who is interested in STEM and being able to connect with faculty members.

Eric Corrado

Hometown: Okinawa, Japan
High school: Kadena Air Force Base
Major: Computer science
Semester Selected: Fall 2020

Eric Corrado

What is your dream job in STEM? Astronaut

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? That you have to be a straight-A student. It is possible to trip and fall and make mistakes, but it only ends when you give up. In STEM you can pick yourself back up and keep going on the path.

What is an invention or a discovery in STEM that you think is especially cool or important? The internet is one of the most important inventions that has ever occurred. With it, the human race has become more co-existent than ever before. Through this, collaboration can increase, which will lead to more inventions and better standards of living for everyone. The next step in human expansion is to become one cohesive group and work toward fixing the current problems for the next generation.

Grace Farson

Hometown: Papillion, NE
High school: Papillion LaVista South High School
Major: Mathematics
Semester Selected: Spring 2022

Grace Farson

What’s your dream job? I want to work for one of the United States Intelligence Communities as a Foreign Weapons Analyst using my knowledge in both Mathematics and National Security

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? The best project I have worked on in STEM was for my summer internship at NSRI. We were tasked with updating a limited nuclear conflict table top exercise over conflict between Russia and Ukraine. To accomplish this task, we had to use our knowledge in STEM as well as humanities. I loved the multi domain aspect of research and how relevant it was to national security.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to my supervisor Christopher Yeaw. He is the Associate Executive Director at NSRI and has his doctorate in nuclear engineering and engineering physics. He has shown me the importance of STEM when it comes to national security. I have learned how important it is to use my mathematical skill set to better secure the nation from various threats.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? I would tell them to research different career options. I thought I was limited to certain careers paths when I became a Mathematics major but soon realized just how many options I had. I never thought I would be able to work for national security if I chose STEM but now that is exactly the career path I am pursuing.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? I want to break the misconception that the only career path for a degree in STEM is research. I want to show others they can use their knowledge of STEM to make a difference in the world today. They can engineer weapons, rockets, influence policy, and create new technology to combat climate change.

Ronit Gandhi

Hometown:Omaha, NE
High school:Millard West High School
Major:Mathematical Biology and BioChemistry
Semester Selected:Spring 2020

Ronit Gandhi

What’s your dream job?My dream job is becoming a Clinical Research Physician. This is an overlap between research and medicine that includes normal research and medicine, but also specializes in clinical trials and doing whatever needed to further patient care.

What inspired you to pursue STEM?I didn't always love math... Very early in my life, my parents set a strong precedent for the subject. For example, rather than playing the normal roadtrip games, my parents would print packets of math problems for my brother and I to do. Although it annoyed me at the time, I found myself developing a strong interest in identifying the hidden patterns in math. It wasn't long before I noticed these patterns applying to other sciences, such as chemistry. By the time I was in high school, I was set on going to college for Chemistry and Math.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM?A while ago, I signed up for the directed reading program in the Department of Mathematics. I was paired with a graduate student, Austin Eide, and was given the materials to read into Markov Chains. When working on this, I realized it could apply to gene flow and genetic drift. After working on it with Austin for months, I had the opportunity to present it at a regional conference under the title "Utilizing Markov chains to estimate allele progression through generations". Now, I am working to make it my Honors Thesis and use it to graduate with distinction.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why?I look up to Dr. Joshua Brummer. Dr. Brummer was my professor, my supervisor, and my STEM Connect mentor, all during my freshman year. I have had the opportunity to work with him or for him in unique ways, and I learned something new each time. Despite graduating with a PhD in Mathematics, he has knowledge to share in multiple fields. He has helped me in countless ways over the last three years and I will be forever grateful.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major?Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, regardless of the field. Despite my STEM majors, I stumbled into an advertising research grant that I've been part of for two years. There are countless opportunities on this campus and you can be part of multiple programs. You don't have to restrict yourself to one grant or project... branching out now can help you a lot in the years to come.

What excites you about STEM?I love the unexpected overlaps between fields. Early on, you are shown how chemistry matters in biology and math is the basis for physics, but you are rarely shown the interesting ones. Like using math to understand why cells are shaped the way they are... or understanding how simple redox reactions create the batteries we use on a daily basis. These overlaps are what I want to spend my life studying.

Santiago Giraldo

Hometown: Cambridge, NE
High school: Cambridge
Major: Computer science
Semester Selected: Fall 2020

Santiago Giraldo

What’s your dream job in STEM? Work at Apple.

What inspired you to pursue STEM? My passion to help others with technology.

What is an invention or a discovery in STEM that you think is especially cool or important? Automation has been one of the most interesting inventions for me. From little things as your phone telling you what's on your calendar and weather for the day, all the way to self-driving cars.

Nicole Livingston

Hometown: Spokane Valley, WA
High school: Central Valley
Majors: Software engineering and mathematics
Semester Selected: Fall 2020

What inspired you to pursue STEM? I did a one day summer camp for coding, and I instantly fell in love. Also, my mom is an engineer, and I always liked the idea of being more like her.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? That there is only one type of person who can succeed in STEM.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? It is hard work and may seem challenging at first but once you figure out the problem it is so worth it.

Emmanuel Lopez Mateo

Hometown: Saline County, NE
High school: Crete
Major: Computer Science
Semester Selected: Spring 2020

Emmanuel Lopez Mateo

What’s your dream job? A security analyst.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? A project that I liked was applying the skills that I had acquired in one semester to build the concept behind a banking system. No matter how simple it may look, now I know that through the years of study here, I'll be able to do more impressive things.

How do you use STEM in your life? STEM plays a part in every aspect of my life from being part of my major to buying a candy from a vending machine.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to all my professors and mentors because even though their role varies, they are trying to make a difference in this world.

What excites you about STEM? I have always wanted to pursue a career in STEM, because of people who are in this field that have allowed our society to operate in a more complex and efficient way from transportation to instantaneous exchange of information.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I’m looking forward to a supportive and encouraging community.

Caleb Marcoux

Hometown: Roca, NE
High school: Homeschool
Major: Software Engineering
Semester Selected: Spring 2020

Caleb Marcoux

What’s your dream job? Helping others with my skills. Currently, I would like to work at Don't Panic Labs.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? Open Source Software. It is awesome that we can contribute to software that everyone can use and learn from.

How do you use STEM in your life? Everywhere. I am always using new things I learn and new technology to improve my efficiency and daily life. For example, today I set up an ssh profile and shared keys so that I can easily connect to the CSCE server.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Brady Garvin is our primary Software Engineering professor at UNL. He is incredibly passionate in his effort to help us understand the material, and always has a good way to answer questions. I believe people who take the time to care about other's knowledge and improve their lives, especially when they know so much, are worth looking up to.

What excites you about STEM? STEM is the future. I always dream up new ideas and concepts. STEM is making that future a reality.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? Community can help a person become more invested in their work. The peers and mentors that I have met are all amazing and passionate, and I believe they will provide a sense of belonging and momentum toward growth.

Arielle Monson

Hometown: Orion, IL
High school: Orion
Major: Computer science
Semester Selected: Fall 2020

Arielle Monson

What’s your dream job in STEM? My dream job is to work for myself using both my computer science major and music technology minor. This would probably be some sort of music producing. While working toward that, however, I'd love to work for either Google or Apple.

What inspired you to pursue STEM? I was inspired to pursue STEM after joining my high school robotics team. I came in with no experience, but the team was very accepting of me, and I absolutely fell in love with programming.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? Give yourself plenty of time to learn the concepts. Some things are going to take longer to catch on to than others and that is perfectly OK and normal. If you hit a rough spot in your assignments, ask for help. There truly are so many people who are more than happy to help you.

Alexander Muenster

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
High school: O'Gorman
Major: Mathematics and Physics
Year: First-Year/Freshman

Clara Perez

Hometown: Omaha, NE
High school: Omaha Burke High School
Major: Software Engineering
Semester Selected: Spring 2021

Clara Perez

What’s your dream job? I want to become a software engineer with Neuralink. I would like to work with the new device and developing it as it becomes a distributed device. Alternatively I would also like to work with UX research or be in a similar field where I am able to work both with people and technology.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? I am currently working on a capstone project with a program called Braven. And we are working creating an app that will be building a bridge education to career accelerating opportunities. We know that students (especially in the STEM field) might not want to apply to internships and other opportunities because they think that they are not qualified or they don't understand the language of a job description. What we are doing with this project is looking at the experiences a user may have and their career aspirations, give them a recommended "timeline", and then with the "translated" job descriptions, help students find opportunities. This is not only helping students, but recruiters, as they would be spending less time looking at under or overqualified applicants.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to Dr. Brittany Duncan and Lori Romano. They both have set amazing examples in what I aspire to be. I am a first-gen student, and Lori is one of the biggest supporters for any student who is the first in their family to take the higher education route. Dr. Duncan is always there to support and guide me in my technological aspirations.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? Being in STEM doesn't mean you have to give up the other side of you that doesn't relate to STEM at all.

Brandon Ramos

Hometown: Scottsbluff, NE
High school: Scottsbluff
Major: Computer engineering
Semester Selected: Fall 2020

Brandon Ramos

What’s your dream job in STEM? I hope to work for Raytheon or Intel, working with high-end technology to push the limitations further than ever.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? You have to be the smartest in your class. What I mean by this is that you do have to work hard in STEM but its not impossible. I treat college like a lifestyle and work hard to understand my material that was given to me in class. I feel like most people who drop out or switch to another major can succeed in STEM but need a mentor.

What inspired you to pursue STEM? My grandfather was in the engineering field and I quickly learned that I could make a difference in my community with my hard work and experience.

What is an invention or a discovery in STEM that you think is especially cool or important? I would have to say my No. 1 favorite invention in STEM is the transistor. I could go on talking about the history behind it and what advances we had to make just to get down to its size today. Researching them can lead me down a rabbit hole!

Zach Reed

Hometown: Holdrege, NE
High school: Holdrege High
Major: Mathematics
Semester Selected: Fall 2021

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I had a high school calculus teacher that I really look up to. She was really passionate about math and was also really cool, I could talk to her for hours after class sometimes.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? Being a STEM major is truly rewarding, the whole community cares about your success and everyone is really helpful. The biggest thing to remember is to ask for help when you need it, not even the smartest people know everything. Ask questions.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I am hoping to gain connections and get involved in some research opportunities.

What excites you about STEM? The thing I really like about STEM is that it is the future. STEM will change the course of humanity. Whether it is from engineers inventing new gadgets or computer scientists doing their thing, STEM is taking over the world.

Michael Sanders

Hometown: Omaha, NE
High school: Omaha Central
Major: Computer Science
Semester Selected: Spring 2020

Michael Sanders

What’s your dream job? Being a professional athlete, or being a part of or making my own big tech company.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? I see cool inventions in the media all the time.

How do you use STEM in your life? In my opinion STEM is a mindset and a lifestyle. I believe that if you start thinking like a scientist an engineer or a mathematician that's half the work. Being a problem solver is the core of STEM and I've been one all my life.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? People like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Mark Cuban have had an influence on me.

What excites you about STEM? A lot of things excite me about STEM. Probably the main reason is the constant challenge. STEM is a field where things are constantly improving. I'm a person that when things get easy I tend to get lazy. It excites me that being in this field matches how I want to live my life, getting better everyday.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? Being able to have a support system in STEM that can allow me to make mistakes, grow, and learn so I can be the best me possible.

UNL, February 2022: ‘Being open’ drives Sanders’ Nebraska U experience, success

STEM mindset guides computer science major

Spencer Schmidt

Hometown: Diller, NE
High school: Diller-Odell
Major: Mathematics and Geology
Semester Selected: Spring 2020

Spencer Schmidt

What’s your dream job? A comedian.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? I think the GRACE project is really cool.

How do you use STEM in your life? I study it and explain how things work with that knowledge.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Clair Cameron Patterson.

What excites you about STEM? Being really confused and then understanding an idea.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I am excited to meet all sorts of new people who I would not have met otherwise. Also I want to know what the most advanced mathematics focuses on. I know what the classes I have taken deal with, but I have less understanding of what graduate students or professors are working with.

Abby Seibel

Hometown: Elkhorn, NE
High school: Elkhorn
Major: Computer Engineering
Semester Selected: Spring 2020

Abby Seibel

What’s your dream job? To work in environmental technology specifically with water and energy. I think it would be really awesome to help build a system for water management that better accounts for the flow of water, and reduces the ways in which treatment facilities waste water. I would also possibly be interested in other ways to innovate new technology that saves water. If I cannot work in the water sector, I think Energy would be a very cool area to work in. People are really weary of environmental technology because they think of technology as a social tool, or a tool that creates pollution, and I want them to see there are many ways technology can be implemented with water and how environmental technology is a pathway to a better future.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? I am really interested in things that use tech for clean energy and water. There are a lot of really inventive ways people are trying to save energy in addition to the more common wind and hydroelectric power sources. For example, it is an idea to try and harness energy in cities from the friction of foot traffic, and although this is just a kind of extravagant idea, it is cool that people care so much.

How do you use STEM in your life? In a basic sense I use it daily in my major, but I am also using it in my free time. The best example is that this summer I am going to be doing a research project in Iceland that focuses on renewable energy and environmental technology. I will be doing an independent project that I decide on after learning the basics of resource economics and I am hoping to focus on something that ties computer science into environmentalism.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Reshma Saujani - she is the woman who founded girls who code. Her movement is what started programs like the summer camp that taught me to code two years ago. Without her, tech would be even less accessible to women. In terms of people I have had as teachers, so far at UNL Kevin Gonzales and Chris Bourke have been the two professors who are really passionate about what they teach, and their passion makes learning so much fun. They relate what we are learning to the real world, and are so very helpful. Their passion makes me more excited about STEM and what I can do with it.

What excites you about STEM? I enjoy the fact that there are endless possibilities in the STEM world. Unlike other professions there is no strict domain as to what I get to do with my degree. I can make my own path, and if I don't like what I am doing, I have the resources to find a new project, or start a project of my own that is more impactful to me. I also really like the fact that STEM is focused on helping others. Overall, Engineering is here to help people live easier and more fulfilling lives.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I think that this program will help me actualize my goals instead of having them be these big ideas I have that don't get put into action. I also think it will help me learn more. I am newer to the technology field and can sometimes feel a little behind or out of place because I haven't been coding for years. I think that STEM CONNECT will be a really good support system for me, and will help me explore STEM more boldly.

STEM scholar makes connections to environment

Sawyer Smith

Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
High school: Discovery Canyon Campus
Major: Mathematics and Psychology
Semester Selected: Spring 2020

Sawyer Smith

What’s your dream job? A hotel manager.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? The development of technology used in the food service industry has always fascinated me. I worked as a waitress at a retirement home for almost 4 years, and we only upgraded from writing paper tickets to using a computer system to put in orders in my last year or so. It not only made our lives easier, but helped management to drastically cut down on time spent on problems relating to dining room/service statistics or logistics.

How do you use STEM in your life? I definitely look forward to delving more into the real-world application side of things (esp. with finance and computers), primarily because it has to do with what I want to do with my life.

What excites you about STEM? I find it so interesting how technology has become integrated into our daily lives. It's gone from being something exclusively used by the government/military, to something that most people (at least in the US) pretty much can't live without. We have so many tools available at our fingertips, it's impossible to try and guess at where we're going to take that next.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I look forward to having an opportunity to learn about things that I otherwise maybe wouldn't, in my program of studies, or things that have applications outside of what I'm already studying. I think this program is a really cool way to connect lots of different types of people/ideas that all fall under a very general umbrella, but have different outlooks and different areas of focus under that umbrella.

Dennis Startsev

Hometown: Stavropol (Russia)
High school: Stavropol Municipal Educational Institution the High School №2
Major: Mathematics
Semester Selected: Fall 2021

Dennis Startsev

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I don’t have favourites, every professor is a professional that can teach the same subject (in my case math) by different methods. But I have a professor who became my friend—John P. Stephenson who was math professor at SCC. On the first-second week of Calc.I class he gave us the material over One-Sided Limits, and I argued with him for the whole class section because he was partially wrong. That made us interested in each other, and we started to meet almost every week and firstly discuss about math and then about life.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? Be prepared to spend hours and hours, first to read books and second to work over material on your own, sometimes struggling on a problem for couple of hours or even days. But this is a journey that is full of excitement and achievements!

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? 1. To get know other stem students and professors. 2. Find the new activities that related to mathematics. 3. Get a support from a coach when I am struggling with a problem.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? Nowadays we cannot live without STEM studies because everything is related to it, but someone can say “why would I need to know mathematics if I don’t use it in everyday life”. Mathematics, for example, improves one's logical thinking/critical thinking.

Hadley Susie

Hometown: Firth, NE
High school: Norris
Major: Software engineering
Semester Selected: Fall 2020

Hadley Susie

What’s your dream job in STEM? My dream job in STEM would be working at Spotify as a software engineer.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? A main misconception about STEM that is important to break is the idea that you have to be amazing at the subjects already if you want to go into a STEM major. The point of going to college is to learn the material associated with that STEM major, so coming in with no previous experience is not a dealbreaker. For example, I came in with no prior experience to coding and was scared I would be so lost. In reality, they start from the basics and work the way up, so anyone can pursue a STEM major if they think they would enjoy it.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? The main piece of advice I would offer is to give it a chance. It may seem difficult and overwhelming at first if you have no experience coming into it, but it is important to hold out long enough to really see what it can be like.

Alex Ventura

Hometown: Omaha, NE
High school: Omaha North High
Major: Computer Engineering
Semester Selected: Spring 2022

What’s your dream job? Robotics Engineer

What inspired you to pursue STEM? I really enjoyed my time in Vex Robotics when I was in middle school and I stuck with it ever since.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to Dennis Ritchie because he created everything computing is built on today.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? My advice is to find something that you're passionate about. STEM is a large and everchanging field and I'm sure there's something in it for you.

Cleve Young

Hometown: Decatur, NE
High school: Lyons-Decatur Northeast
Major: Mathematics
Semester Selected: Fall 2021

Cleve Young

What inspired you to pursue STEM? Math is the language of the universe, and I felt is was my responsibility to be as fluent in it as I could be.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? As I'm preparing for my undergraduate thesis, I have been introduced to the Algebra Project and the Young People's Project. If you haven't heard of them I strongly encourage you to look into them. The work they do is so valuable and it so greatly aligns with my philosophy of math education.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Almost everyone I've had contact with since starting in STEM has inspired me. From my first instructor Justin, who I took Trig with, and his excitement talking about proofs and his willingness to go above and beyond to answer my questions about more than just the class, to all my current professors and peers within STEM CONNECT whose passion and drive are inspirations in the truest sense of the word.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a STEM major? Don't let the fear of it "being too hard" or anything of that nature stop you. There is a ton of support for you from LA's, TA's, Professors, and the Departments themselves, and they all want you to succeed. Go to office hours, resource centers and definitely talk to the other students around you.

What is one misconception about STEM that you want to break? There is a long standing misconception that "Boys are better than girls at Math and Science", and this is absolutely ludricous. There is no "math gene".

What excites you about STEM? STEM is so often people of different disciplines and different backgrounds coming together to identify and solve problems. It really shows the potential of humanity.

Young exploring new avenues at Nebraska