Angelica, 21 – FUNDED

Angelica Vega, a philosophy student at American University, believes that diversity of thought drives innovation — especially within STEAM fields. It’s something she’s particularly passionate about and something that she hopes to champion in public office.  “Restricting any group of people from pursuing work in these fields, including women, means stifling advancement in those fields and society as a whole,” this Paliwal Club of 100 grant winner said. Read on for more of her inspiring words.

What is your professional dream?

My dream is to run for public office, specifically Congress.

What does being in the Paliwal Club mean to you?

For me, it means standing alongside high-achieving women in STEAM with the intent of redefining our respective fields. It is an honor to be given the opportunity to inspire other women to pursue their dreams and spark change in our communities.

Women are underrepresented in STEAM. How can we change this?

Change must be enabled through inclusion at every level of a society, from community to governmental positions, if we are to lift women up and foster the kind of change which lasts for generations to come. Diversify academia in STEAM fields, provide mentoring and leadership opportunities for women, support free and affordable education, and establish an inclusive environment which embraces differences and encourages girls to consider STEAM fields at an early age. These are some great steps we can take right now to work towards better female representation in STEAM.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

Throughout my undergraduate years, one of the biggest challenges I have faced has been trying to find working opportunities, like internships, to explore potential career paths. For most of my time in college, I did not have a mentor to rely on for advice, nor did I know where to even start my search for internships. As a result, it was hard to find organizations that were willing to give me a shot. I was eventually fortunate enough to land my first internship at EMILY’s List with the help of my brothers in Phi Sigma Pi. Looking back now, I wish that I could have found a mentor to help me navigate through college much sooner than I did, to help me seek work opportunities and explore different industries.

How will this grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

This grant will help me travel to educational conferences to present my research on public libraries. It will also help cover research costs and books, and will enable me to seek other educational opportunities like applying to graduate school or law school.