Growing up I never saw myself as an inventor. There were signs. I liked lego more than Barbie. I was really good at drafting. But the lack of confidence on my part combined with the absence of signals from the people and the culture around me made it hard for me to find that path. Luckily, ten years after undergrad I discovered Industrial Design. This is what I studied in graduate school and I fell in love with it because I had finally realized myself as an inventor, a maker, a creator of things. And greater than that, a problem solver.
Ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to help other people discover their inner inventor, especially Women in STEM. Why is it important that STEM Women see themselves, and are seen, as inventors and entrepreneurs? Because inventors and entrepreneurs solve complex problems and we can’t have half of the population sitting on the sidelines of that problem-solving. It’s not acceptable. And it’s not smart.
So if you know a STEM Woman who is a great problem solver, encourage her to invent or to start a tech business. If you see a STEM Woman being encouraged to drop invention and move into a role like marketing (this happens a lot), help her explore other ways to use her excellent communication skills to lead. And if you yourself are a STEM Woman who is more comfortable in the lab than with pitching new ideas, I totally get it. But I’m going to ask you to step out of your comfort zone because we need you. The world needs you. The world needs you to problem-solve, to invent, and to lead.
And if you need some help or encouragement, it would be my pleasure: xanthe dot matychak at gmail dot com