Hi everyone! My name is Hareem Rasool and I am a Grade 10 student at Pine Ridge Secondary School. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Durham’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about the future of women in stem conferences.
A speaker who made me realize a lot of things during the conference was Ilona Dougherty during the conference. She talked about how she was invited to work somewhere but they overlooked her, and that really opened my eyes and reminded me of
the quote "I’m big, you’re small, I'm right, and you’re wrong and there is nothing you
can do about it". That quote has played a role in everyone's life, whether you have noticed it or not. The quote and what happened to Ilona showed us that the "older generations" underestimate intelligent young minds just because they are younger and they "don't
know what they are talking about". At the conference, Ilona Dougherty tells us that we are
greater and maybe better than them and that we don't deserve to be looked down upon just because we are younger. It is really important that intelligent young minds speak up because
you are our future; you are our tomorrow. If you don't take the chances given to you to voice your opinions now, you might never get that opportunity ever again. What I took away from
Ilona Dogherty was that age doesn’t matter; you should never let anyone underestimate you and your ideas. Another speaker I really loved was Dr. Cecile Fradin. Her presentations
and the way she explained things was very interesting and fun (I wish more science teachers taught us things like she did). My favorite things that happened at the Illuminate X Durham conference were the group discussions and the case study. Everyone did an amazing job and I got to see and meet a bunch of people just like me, I got to exchange ideas, got asked questions, and I also got to present an awesome case study. I will try my best to apply all the things I learned in today's conference to my future career goals and personal development. I really would like to go into medicine in the future and I really do think the things I learned today could help me. Today I also learned about imposter syndrome and I learned that I might have it. If I'm being really honest, I did think I didn’t have it, but when I answered some questions and listened to some of the discussions it really made me realize why I don’t like doing my work. You all probably know this feeling, it's when you need a mental break and don't feel like doing anything but at the same time, you are terrified at failing in life. This results in you pushing yourself harder than you should. Not only did this conference, which was led by impeccably intelligent and young minds, teach me how to take a stand for myself and embrace myself for all the achievements I had the privilege of receiving, but it also taught me that being a woman is something to be very proud of! We have managed to come out of an era where being a woman was perceived as a weakness and limitation. But just because this time has passed up by, it doesn't mean that a woman has an all-access pass to an immensely male-dominated career. Women are still required to fight for what they believe is right/what they deserve, and in my opinion, this is one of the various things that make women the most hardworking and irrepressible people in the world!