Faith Bailey, 20 – FUNDED

“I understand that for every room I stand in and stand strong, I open the door for more people like me,” says Faith Bailey, a sophomore Animal Science major at Cornell University. This Paliwal Club of 100 STEAM Scholars Fund winner is no stranger to being an outlier, but she is using that challenge as fuel for her own journey and to plant inspiration for others.

What is your professional dream?

I dream of becoming a small animal veterinary surgeon. I am not certain which surgery path, but cardiology and neuroscience are intriguing.

What does being in the Paliwal Club of 100 mean to you? 

It is an additional motivator to pursue my path. It’s a support system and a reminder that my dreams are possible. It’s comforting to have a likeminded group of women surrounding me.

Women are underrepresented in the S.T.E.A.M. (science, tech, arts or math) fields and music industry. How can we change this? 

To stop the cycle, we must begin at the source — volunteering at schools and directly getting to know the youth is one way to do this. It’s important that we foster connections early, so they not only have a role model and someone to look up to, but also inspiration to pursue a STEAM-related career. Mentoring is especially important as they facilitate lasting relationships.

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

I’m a woman in a STEAM-related field of study, and I’m also Black in a majority white profession. This means I’m usually the only person who looks like me in a room. It can be challenging — not only because it’s discouraging, but also because being the outlier means many people openly doubt my abilities. It can feel as though I am in a constant pursuit to prove myself in every room I step into. Finding peers I can relate to or mentors that can help me navigate the space is also increasingly difficult.

While this is all challenging, it is also a motivator because I understand that for every room I stand in and stand strong, I open the door for more people like me. Eventually the room will be filled with everyone from all walks of life. I am motivated by these challenges to become the mentor that I struggle to find so the next woman doesn’t find it as hard.

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

This grant opens the door for me to do more internships/research without as heavy of a financial burden. For that, I am eternally grateful.