National STEM Day: Reflecting on Influences on our Futures
National STEM Day is celebrated every year to encourage youth to explore their interests in STEM fields. Through UScellular’s partnerships with Boys & Girls Club of America, Girls Who Code and YWCA USA, we’re connecting thousands of tomorrow’s innovators with the resources they need to help shape their future opportunities.
For all of us, there’s an educator who helped encourage and inspire us to pursue our careers. This National STEM Day, I reflected on the educators and influences that propelled my future, and asked a few of my colleagues and team members to share the stories of the people who influenced their path in STEM. Here’s what they had to share:
Diane Supinski, Senior Engineer
Miss Dosen was my geometry teacher Sophomore year of high school. It was a really tough class, and I'd have to say, one of the first classes where my fellow students and I had to work really hard in. Luckily for me, I seemed to get it, at least the way she taught it. At the end of the year, she nominated me to attend a "camp" for young women in math and science at Purdue University. Unfortunately, I was unable to go, but Purdue stuck in my mind. When it came time to apply to colleges, Purdue was one of the schools I applied to, and luckily accepted. My education at Purdue, and the graduates I knew who came to work at UScellular are why I applied here 28 years ago. I like to think that Miss Dosen set in motion a journey that led me to a career here at UScellular. And, even more surprising, I'm still using those angles on those microwave paths.
Teresa Chen, Associate Developer in Integration Services
The instruction of my high school computer science teacher, Mr. Wood, was incredibly influential in my decision to go into computer science. He was a good teacher in many ways, such as being able to convey information in a way that made sense for an entire class of people who had never programmed before, as well as encouraging everyone in the class and pushing us all to succeed. His teaching and attitude made me excited to learn and helped me realize that computer science could be a viable career path. Before his classes, I was under the false impression that to have a career in technology or computer science, you had to be a boy who had been programming in his bedroom since middle school. He helped to demystify a daunting subject and made me realize that despite all its jargon, underneath lay a subject that was accessible when taught in a patient manner.
Harman Shihn, Senior Manager Product Management of IoT and Business Solutions
I was fortunate to have excellent teachers and mentors from high school through university who really made a difference in my learning capacity by teaching STEM subjects with so much rigor and fun. Pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering was also full of learning about new technologies and scientific concepts and all because of my professors especially, Dr. Arun Asati, who taught me difficult topics like Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics with so much energy and passion that I decided to continue my education beyond a bachelor’s degree. My advisor, Dr. Paul DesJardin, during my graduate studies at State University of New York, Buffalo positively challenged me every day to be a curious researcher and find answers to complex problems. He helped me going through the joint publications not only from the technical aspect but also grammatically, so it is crystal clear to the end consumer of the publications. I am very grateful and owe to all my STEM mentors and teachers who helped me achieve where I am now.
Mike Irizarry, Chief Technology Officer, Head of Engineering and Information Technology
Early in my education, I took a college course taught by Mr. Shanks, who was an expert in microprocessor design and microprocessor programming. He liked to regularly give us “pop” quizzes focused on Boolean logic, different numbering bases and logic reduction techniques to see if we studied the materials assigned from the previous day. These were not easy subjects for me, and I struggled to get up to speed. While Mr. Shanks had high expectations for his students, he also recognized my willingness to learn. He spent time helping me recognize the foundational concepts so I could understand the broader meaning of each of the topics. He saw my potential and helped me realize it.
Find more information on how UScellular connects youth to resources to shape future opportunities in STEM on our STEM overview webpage.
Chief Technology Officer, Head of Engineering and Information Technology