By Mason Braasch
Stephanie Santos-Diaz, an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education, and a postdoc at the Department of Chemistry, recently started an Instagram account that is intended to be an empowering resource for underrepresented populations in the STEM field. Six months after her first post in October 2020, the STEMpowerment Instagram page has gained more than 200 followers, and has shared over 40 posts. Santos-Diaz explained that the Instagram page is a way to acknowledge her community and help them to overcome potential barriers.
“I’m Latinx. I’m a woman in STEM,” Santos-Diaz said. “So, I really want to give back to my community and help them out. That’s what STEMpowerment Resources is specifically for. Anyone can follow and can benefit from it, but it’s specifically for those populations.”
On the page, Santos-Diaz shares announcements for conferences, scholarships, and networking opportunities, as well as motivational materials such as quotes from people within the community. Her hope is that her followers use these resources to explore the different opportunities offered in STEM and break free from the normal way to do things.
“I feel like a lot of us are fed this narrative about which trajectories are best for us. People tell us, ‘You finish your bachelor’s degree and then you go to grad school, get your masters or Ph.D., and then you get a job or get a postdoc, and get a job in academia or industry.’ So, it’s very limited,” Santos-Diaz said. “I want people to know that there are ways to get involved in other different disciplines, there are ways to explore other things.”
In the future, Santos-Diaz hopes to continue sharing important resources and opportunities, while transforming the space into a STEM Empowerment Coaching page. Her goal of starting a business was her inspiration for the Instagram page, and she hopes that the work she has done to build it and her database of resources will help her to achieve this goal.
Those who would like to follow along, or who are looking for opportunities within the STEM field, can follow the STEMpowerment Resources page on Instagram, @stempowerment_resources