Sisters in STEM
What a gift it is to be surrounded by such intelligent, uplifting women that have such inspirational career goals. Zoie Powe (MC ‘19), Luna Sanchez (MC ‘18) and Kelly Wright (MC ‘18) share their experiences as they reflect on pursuing degrees and careers in STEM, while being involved in Chi Omega. These three members have been accepted to graduate schools or have jobs lined up after graduation, and they are extremely passionate about the fields that they are about to enter.
Zoie Powe will graduate this spring with a degree in Civil Engineering, and she has a job secured after graduation at Turner Construction. Her main career goal for the upcoming years is to move from assistant project manager to project manager on a construction project. As for her long-term goals, Zoie has thought about being on the business and executive side of construction so that she will have a say in which projects the company she works for will take on.
Kelly Wright, former new member educator, will graduate this spring with a degree in Health Science and a minor in Health Disparities in Society. She will attend Occupational Therapy School in the fall. She is currently deciding between seven acceptances, six of which are at top 10 Occupational Therapy programs in the nation. Her long-term goals include practicing occupational therapy, and she is considering pursuing a Ph.D. in the future so that she will be able to teach Occupational Therapy students.
Kelly found out that she was accepted to the University of Pittsburgh for graduate school while competing with her sisters at Beta Theta Pi's Alzheimer's Association philanthropy cheer event, Beta Bring It On!
Luna Sanchez will graduate this spring with a degree in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, with a minor in Nutritional Science. This fall, she will attend Optometry School at The Ohio State University, which is a top 5 program. Ultimately, she dreams of opening her own practice that specializes in supporting children with special needs or stroke patients that are working to realign their vision.
When asked about their experiences pursuing STEM careers while being members of Chi Omega, each of these women has so many impactful memories to share. While reminiscing on her past four years in Chi Omega, Kelly said, “I felt encouraged by being surrounded by other women my age in school that were also pursuing STEM careers.” Her G-Big, Shelbi Dupre (MC ‘16), was accepted to nursing school at Johns Hopkins University, and this inspired Kelly in her application process. This also gave her strength in making the big decision of moving across the country alone to prioritize her academic career.
Luna was supported in her goals by Kendall Long (MC ‘19). Luna excitedly shared that Kendall helped her find research opportunities by sitting with her, making a plan, and sharing her expertise that came with being an ambassador for the Center for Undergraduate Research.
Although there weren’t older Civil Engineering majors that Zoie was able to directfrom, she has felt supported by Chi Omega as a whole. She was supported in her goals through her membership in Chi Omega by learning to be a more well-rounded person. “Everyone in Chi O has hard majors but still has friends and can balance that,” Zoie said. Luna echoes this sentiment, saying that her membership in Chi Omega has helped her to become a more organized person. Luna adds to this by saying that you need to be incredibly organized and committed to making it all work, and that these skills are beneficial to personal and professional success.
Holding leadership positions in Chi Omega can also open doors because it reflects one’s work ethic and responsibility when applying to jobs and graduate school. Kelly talked about being on our executive board in every single graduate school interview. “It’s an avenue with which I gained a lot of experience,” Kelly said.
These incredible women in STEM have so much advice to share with younger Chi Omegas. Our sisterhood is built on supporting one another, and they all are so excited to watch their sisters succeed.
Advice for younger sisters in STEM
“Don’t be afraid to fail, that goes for both opportunities and classes.”
“Apply and do those interviews because if you don’t get [that job or internship], it’s just one opportunity that didn’t work, but you have another one coming.”
“For any type of health career, definitely shadow. Go and see it in person because grad school is a big commitment.”
“Use your summers in college in a wise way. I’m proud of myself for sacrificing some summers [to shadow].”
“It’s wise to recognize that there are times that you need to step back from Chi O and your other involvements because classes are hard. It’s okay to not go to an event when necessary. Our symphony says ‘scholarship before social obligations,’ and that rings true.”
“Don’t narrow yourself. If you’re not open-minded, you’ll be closed off to other careers.”
“If you’re struggling with a class, don’t let that hinder you and your goals. One class won’t make or break your academic career.”
“If you really want something, you’ll put yourself out there and you’re going to get there eventually, it just might be through a different route.”