10 Ways These Women’s Careers Went After Being STEM Majors in College

Krystal DeVille

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10 Ways These Women’s Careers Went After Being STEM Majors in College

More women are entering the STEM fields. Still, there are challenges that many face at some point in their career. Sometimes they experience toxicity in education. Other times, they have no idea until they enter the workforce. Here are some women who went into STEM and how their careers have unfolded.

1. Switched to Insurance

A student majoring in biology landed her first job as a surgical technician at a hospital. Unfortunately, the work environment was hostile. She hated the work and the hours. She wound up quitting and took a job at a health insurance company.

Although she admits it’s not her “dream job,” she did get a promotion after two years, then another less than a year later. She works remotely supervising a department now and feels there will be other opportunities to pursue her dreams later.

2. So Far, So Good

An engineer admitted they’ve only been at their job a few months. However, in that short time, they said they enjoyed the work, saying, “it’s been pretty good.” Though all their coworkers are male, they’ve never felt as though they are mistreated because they are a woman.

3. From STEM to Music

This is one of the most drastic career shifts. A microbiology major gave a concise breakdown of her career trajectory. She was pre-med in college. Now?

She’s no longer in that field, instead producing “multi-million dollar music videos and concert films.” Someone else asked for “visuals” on how this exciting career shift came about, to no response. We’ll always wonder.

4. Escape to Greener Pastures

Sometimes you have to be willing to shift or tweak your career. Another lady majored in microbiology. After college, she did research for a few years and then ran a government lab for a few more. However, she left because not only was the environment “super toxic,” but they no longer offered competitive pay.

Fortunately, she landed an advisor position that is not toxic; she works from home and enjoys the time with her pups. She adds that luck and effort play a role in succeeding and leaving a horrible job when it no longer serves you.

5. Twenty-Year Joy

A software developer lucked out with her first job. Despite having no experience, they paid for her to finish school. After getting her degree, she received a 20% raise for two years. At her next job, she was the senior software developer and deputy project manager among all men.

The only issue she had was a manager demanding she addresses him as “sir.” She nipped that in the bud, saying they’re “not in the military.” Though she’s no longer in the field, she has no regrets about her twenty years in the field and happily states she’d “do it all again!”

6. Helping Future Women in Stem

It’s about belonging; sometimes, a hostile work environment can push you to find that home. After majoring in chemistry during undergrad, one woman struggled to succeed. She dealt with constant microaggressions from her peers and humiliation in a lab at the hands of a horrid man who was a faculty member.

Combine that with struggling with imposter syndrome, and she was tired. She switched to oceanography in grad school, working with other “strong women scientists” and mentoring undergraduates. She finally settled on stem education, helping the next generation of women “navigate into the field.”

Another user cheered her for becoming that “empowering educator we all needed.” Amen to that!

7. Feeling Left Out

A few women in STEM commiserated over the feeling of being the odd one in their respective jobs. For example, one majored in mechanical engineering and now is the only woman engineer in a small company. To top it off, the men have known each other for years and hang out together. So she feels “left out a lot.”

The other concurred, sharing her experience at a water supply system where all eight of her coworkers are men. Though they never do anything disrespectful, connecting with them is challenging because of their differing “interests and life experiences.” So it’s not only toxicity that women struggle with but a lack of camaraderie.

8. A Bright Future

After five years working in compliance for ground and drinking water, a woman, who majored in environmental engineering, states she is happy. She has a local government job, feels valued, and there’s room for advancement. There is potential in STEM for women. It’s just challenging to avoid antagonistic positions.

9. An Uphill Battle

It’s not all easy, as some face struggle and adversity in their job. Someone else majored in biochemistry and, after graduating, began work in biotech. Though the professors in school helped empower women, that was far from the case at her job.

The amount of sexual harassment and improper behavior she deals with made her realize how prevalent misogyny and sexism are in the industry. Even though she has a passion for science, she now struggles with anxiety and is unsure how to exist in this “discriminatory environment.”

A fellow woman offered sympathy and suggested she report it to HR to at least get the conduct on record should the need arise. Sadly, women often have to be their own advocates in this society.

10. Know Your Worth

There can be toxicity in positions predominantly held by men. But a woman who majored in engineering in school and works in the aerospace industry stresses the importance of assertiveness. She says although more women are entering this area, it’s essential to be knowledgeable and confident to succeed.

One woman agreed, adding her personal experience in her first lab as a microbiologist. Because of imposter syndrome, she let the other “mediocre scientists” walk all over her. She vowed never to let that happen again.

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