Meet 2017 recipient Elizabeth Stoneham. As an engineer, she wants to be a part of the change that enables our world to utilize clean energy. Learn more about her story!
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
What inspired me the most about STEM fields was the ability to change the world. Engineers, scientists, and mathematicians all have the unique opportunity to create something revolutionary or be a part of a discovery that can influence society during their lifetimes and far beyond it. As an engineer, I want to be a part of the change that enables our world to utilize clean energy and improve the quality of life for all on this planet- or at least be a part of the movement that starts the beginning of this change.
What do you like best about your university’s STEM programs?
I am so amazed at the project-oriented courses I have taken, and look forwards to taking, in my Power Electronics program. So far, I am working on a project to create a converter to charge a battery with a solar panel at maximum power point and have had a tough yet stimulating time using a large range of equipment, making mistakes and finding solutions to a number of software and hardware problems, and applying my classroom knowledge in a relatively non-classroom environment. The hands-on experience of taking circuits from paper to reality has been an essential tool in understanding my field in new and meaningful ways.
What advice can you share to other young women pursuing STEM degrees?
My advice to young girls is to never stop asking questions. If something perplexes you or frustrates you, you always have the opportunity to examine the problem from a different angle. Consulting professors, classmates, and even the internet unlocks a wealth of information that is essential to growing as a STEM thinker. Getting the answer handed to you is meaningless. But achieving understanding in a new way based on asking questions and getting insightful feedback, either from trial-and-error or from some other source, is a gift and experience that shapes you into a more capable intellectual.
How has the WFiT scholarship program impacted your educational and professional development?
The WFiT scholarship’s greatest gift was making me feel like there were others out there who believed in my dreams. I have always felt supported by my family and friends. But having other women in STEM take an interest in me and give me the means in which to fund my education, which is an essential tool to one day making a contribution to my STEM field, was a very special honor that has given me even more conviction in achieving my goals.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I see myself as an experienced professional who has a better handle on how to bring energy efficiency and renewable energy to society on a variety of scales. With this insight, I plan to be either working with others in developing new ideas in this area or implementing a working idea that is beginning to make a salient impact.
When you are not studying, what do you like to do for fun?
I like to hang out with my friends and watch good movies and TV shows.
Give us a fun fact about you!
Fun fact, I grew up on a ranch and have taken care of and been around a variety of animals: horses, donkeys, cattle, goats, dogs, cats, ducks, catfish, and turtles!
Who is your biggest female role model in the STEM field?
My biggest role model is Raji Arasu, an incredible engineer and CTO whose story, intelligence, and spirit inspire me every day.
What is your favorite flavor ice cream? Pizza topping?
My favorite ice-cream flavor is Rocky Mountain Road/Rocky Road and my favorite pizza topping is mushrooms!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
I would travel to New Zealand because its incredible natural beauty has always enchanted me, and the culture and history of its people have always intrigued me. Additionally, the island has a great interest in renewable energy which is a very important value in my life.