We recently had the pleasure of interviewing two amazing women, Angela Brito and Sophia Gurria Hamdan, who have just won the STEM Talent Girl Award. In the interview, we delved into their personal journeys and experiences as young women in STEM. They shared their insights on the challenges they faced, the resources and support that helped them succeed, and the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the STEM fields.
- Tell us about yourself, where are you from? Where have you lived?
- Angela: My name is Angela Brito. I am from Madrid, but I have spent more than half of my life living abroad. I spent my childhood in Sydney, Australia and my teenage years in Toronto, Canada. I feel very fortunate for the experiences that I have been granted, shaping me into the person that I am today.
- Sophia: My name is Sophia Gurria and I was born and raised in Mexico. Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to live in several countries including Italy, France, and Spain, which has broadened my perspectives and allowed me to experience different cultures. In my free time, I have a passion for sports, especially boxing, which I have been practicing recently. These experiences have allowed me to develop both personally and professionally, and I am grateful for the diverse opportunities that have come my way.
- What do you study and why? Why did you choose to come to IEU? Do you like your career?
- Angela: I study the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics. I chose to study this degree because I have been passionate about STEM from a young age and I wanted to pursue a career that combined this interest, with the future integration of technology into society. I chose to study at IEU because of its innovative and global culture, shaping its students into future leaders.
- Sophia: I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Data and Business Analytics because I have a strong belief that data will play a major role in shaping the future. This field presents numerous opportunities for growth and development, and I wanted to be at the forefront of this advancement. That’s why I chose to study at IE University, which is known for its innovative approach to learning and its international environment. Since the beginning my studies, I have been impressed by the degree program and the wealth of opportunities available to me to apply what I have learned in real-world situations. I am confident that this education will equip me with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in this dynamic field.
- Have you always been a STEM girl? Did you have a mentor, a figure you looked up to? How did you break the stereotypes?
- Angela: I have been a STEM girl ever since I was little when I first began to develop a passion for math. From Kumon to tutoring young girls to pursuing a STEM degree, this passion has accompanied me since I was young. While many people have inspired and motivated me along the way, my biggest role model has always, and will always, be my mother. Not only has she shown me the importance of this demanding field, but she has taught me the skills needed to succeed in it. She has demonstrated what determination, passion for learning, and hard work look like, something that I take with me every step of the way. She has been my role model and mentor, and I credit a lot of what I have achieved up until now to her.
- Sophia: Yes, I have always had a passion for STEM subjects. From a young age, I was drawn to programming, physics, chemistry, and mathematics, and I even participated in several contests to challenge myself. While I don’t have one specific mentor, I have had the support of many people who encouraged me in my pursuits. I believe it is important to break down stereotypes and pursue what you love, regardless of societal expectations. I am grateful to have had the support of my male friends who always had my back and believed in me. I am passionate about STEM and I am excited to continue my journey in this field.
- What drove you to the STEM world?
- Angela: I have grown up in what I would consider to be a STEM family, with a long history of engineers, scientists and doctors. My grandma was exceptionally good at mathematics and was encouraged by her professors to pursue a degree in university. Despite this, it was not well regarded for women to study at the time and she was not able to see it through. Pursuing a STEM degree has felt to me like I was continuing my grandma’s path. Growing up hearing stories about my family has motivated me to get to where I am today.
- Sophia: The STEM field has always come naturally to me and it was this ease and enjoyment that initially drove me towards it. I found myself drawn to the challenges that it presented and as I continued to pursue my interests, I found myself becoming more and more passionate about it. The STEM world is constantly evolving and I am excited to be a part of it, exploring new frontiers and tackling the challenges that come my way.
- How do you think today’s world has changed with women in STEM?
- Angela: I sometimes think about what my grandma could have achieved if she had just been granted her dream of studying Mathematics at university. I think about all of the talent lost throughout history by not granting these women the chance to grow and innovate. Nowadays, many more women are granted the opportunity to follow their own path and pursue a career in STEM. Gender equality in the workforce is no longer a women’s issue. It is crucial for everyone. Women can see and address the same problems from different perspectives, making use of their unique knowledge and skillsets to contribute to the discussion.
- Sophia: One of the most notable changes I’ve seen in today’s world related to women in STEM is the increased diversity and inclusivity in the workforce. This has brought with it a wealth of different perspectives and approaches to problem-solving, which is essential for driving innovation and progressing in STEM fields. I believe that the increased representation of women in these areas and industries is playing a crucial role in shaping the future and making it a better place for everyone.
- Tell us about the STEM TALENT GIRL awards.
- Angela: The STEM TALENT GIRL Awards were a very special experience because they served to acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments of girls in STEM across Spain. From younger girls still pursuing their high school degrees, to graduates working in the field, the award recognized women across all ages for their amazing achievements. It demonstrated their continuous efforts to have a voice and an impact in the STEM world. I felt very inspired, not only by the award, but also by the other exceptional women who attended the event.
- Sophia: I had the privilege of participating in the STEM Talent Girl award, and it was an incredible experience to be surrounded by other talented and accomplished women. The event was truly inspiring, and I was honoured to receive an honorable mention for my achievements as a STEM girl. This recognition has motivated me to continue working hard and breaking stereotypes in the field. Being surrounded by such strong and driven women has given me a sense of community and encouraged me to pursue my passions with even more determination.
- What are your next steps?
- Angela: My next steps are to develop my professional career, finding a job that I am passionate about, and trying to support as many women as I can along the way.
- Sophia: When it comes to my future plans, I am currently keeping an open mind and exploring various options. I want to try different fields and find the one that I am most passionate about. What I do know for certain is that I am committed to continuous learning and growth in my professional development. I believe that staying curious, open-minded, and dedicated to improving myself will lead me to new opportunities and exciting challenges in the future.
- What do you want to do in the future? Any internship experience? Which path do you want to follow?
- Angela: While I am still figuring out the path that I want to follow, there are certain goals that I hope to achieve along the way. Unfortunately, the gender gap exists across many sectors, not only STEM. I am currently the President of the Undergraduate Women in Business Club, where we address this gap that exists for women in the workplace. One of the main issues being the lack of females in leader positions across the various sectors. As I begin to explore potential career paths, partaking in internships including Hewlett-Packard last summer or Citibank group this one, I share one recurring thought: my desire to see women having more seats at the table. I hope to be able to serve as a role model like my mother, to empower other women like the women from the STEM Talent Girl Awards, and to no longer have to count the seats at the table.
- Sophia: Regarding my future career path, I have a strong interest in the data field. I have had the opportunity to participate in a data analyst internship with HPE on a telecommunications project, which gave me a taste of the industry and solidified my interest in this area. My dream is to eventually become a data analyst for Formula 1, as I am really passionate for sports and fitness, and I believe that my path may lead me towards a career in that direction. At this point, I am keeping my options open and looking forward to exploring different opportunities in the field of data and sports.
- A Quote That Represents You.
“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
– Angela Brito
“Stay grounded, pursue your passions with determination, and always strive to learn and grow.”
– Sophia Gurria Hamdan