Editor's Note — This Q&A is part of a weekly student conversation series that is celebrating Women's History Month on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Medium page. The series will feature students who are making impacts on campus and look to maintain that momentum in future careers. Learn more about Women's History Month coverage in Nebraska Today.
his week, Nebraska Today is featuring Lydia Storm, a forensic science and biochemistry double major from Lawrence, Kansas. At Nebraska, Storm — the winner of a College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources' Change Maker scholarship — is working to encourage elementary school-aged girls to pursue studies and experiences in STEM fields.
Why are you passionate about encouraging women, particularly younger girls in elementary and middle school, to get into STEM?
Many girls at the late-elementary or -middle school level self-select out of difficult subjects like math or science because they do not feel smart enough when competing with boys. This time is crucial to get females involved and passionate about STEM fields so that they have the option later if they choose. It is proven that females bring different perspectives and creative problem-solving skills; therefore, it is vital that we keep girls engaged. I am so passionate about encouraging youth because I want everyone to know that there is a place for them in these fields, and they should not shy away because of typical gender stereotypes.
Talk a little about the program you’re designing to help with this.
I was selected by the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources to be a Change Maker, which has allowed me to bring my idea to life. I am currently working on developing a program to encourage late-elementary school girls to pursue STEM fields. This is a critical time for building foundations for harder math and science classes. I am hopeful the connections built through this program will allow them to have additional support to build them up and remind them of the opportunities that lie ahead.
In addition to my Change Maker program, I am working with Girl Up Lincoln to create a museum in a box highlighting women of diversity in the STEM fields. I want all females to have role models that they can look up to and know that there is a place for them in STEM. I am excited to see how my program unfolds and the future impact it can have on the lives of future generations.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Because I am a freshman, I am still figuring out what I want my lifelong goals to be. However, college has shown me how important community is. I hope throughout my life that I will be a part of several groups of people who come together and support each other. These communities, both professional and social, will help me excel. Throughout these groups, I want to be a resource for young adults when helping them find their passions and support networks. I know that I want to be involved in making my community better.
What or who inspires you?
I work to focus on the positive moments that have brought me here, while also acknowledging the struggles. I had two female science teachers who inspired me and have helped develop my passion. They saw potential in me and encouraged me to challenge myself even during strenuous times. Most importantly, they helped me to achieve the mindset that I can be a scientist and look at things with both curiosity and logic. I hope that other students can have teachers or mentors in their life that help them see the possibilities and shift their mindset.
What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact?
I always believe that change doesn’t have to be big. It can be as simple as treating other people with kindness. But, if you are passionate about a big idea, I think that passion will drive you to want to help others and seek out resources to make your idea become a reality. My advice is to get outside of your comfort zone and be intentional with your actions. I cannot wait to see what other big ideas are out there in our Husker community.