"I Can See Myself in STEM" Ambassador Profile - Becky Gajewski

Becky Gajewski

Stewardship specialist
City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation

Personal Statement:

I’ve been interested in nature for as long as I can remember. When I was very young, my family lived in a house at the back of a big park where my dad worked. He and I would take walks in the woods looking for acorns, bugs, and other interesting treasures. I was always fascinated by the things we found. When I was a little older, I saw an episode of Sesame Street, where they interviewed a woman who did aerial surveys in helicopters to make maps. I thought then that I’d like to have a job as a cartographer. When I got to high school, I took an environmental science class, where I learned about all of the problems facing our planet. I thought to myself, I have to do something about this! From then on, I knew I wanted a job where I could help heal nature, and as I studied environmental science in college, I also learned how to make maps. Now I get to do both in my current job!

What types of things interested you when you were a kid?

Besides playing with my friends and riding my bike, I used to love building and creating things. I had all kinds of different toys to build things with. I also used to love making forts out of couch cushions and lawn chairs in the back yard. Arts and crafts was a special favorite hobby of mine, and I made lots of jewelry and sculptures from popsicle sticks. As I got older, I became interested in technology and computers, and besides playing video games, I also made movies out of our family videos.

What were your favorite subjects in school?

Art, music, reading, geography, science, and history

Did you face any barriers or challenges growing up? What were they?

I was lucky enough not to have to face many barriers or challenges growing up.

What type of advice do you have for girls who are interested in pursuing a STEM career?

My advice would be to learn as much as you can about the topics that interest you. Read books or watch videos online, talk to people who do the kind of work you’re interested in, and maybe try volunteering with your parents for a program that interests you. Find a hobby that is related to STEM so you can learn more and have fun at the same time!

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