Aneesa Alli studied at the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale, N.Y., and wants to be a pediatric nurse practitioner.
Why did you choose to study a STEM subject in college?
I chose to participate in a STEM program because I felt that it would point me in the right direction in my career. Being part of a STEM program at the College of Mount Saint Vincent has placed me in the company of other students with similar passions.
How did you decide which STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field was right for you?
During my senior year of high school I became very sick and needed to spend time in the hospital, where I became close to many of my nurses. While watching my nurses work with the younger children in the playroom, I realized that I wanted to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. As a patient, I did not know all of my doctors, but I knew all of my nurses. This experience inspired me to want to have an active role in the care of my patients.
What is a typical day like in your STEM experience?
During a typical day, I immerse myself in the three to four classes, absorbing as much information as possible. From the classroom to the science laboratory, I am able to get hands-on experience. Once my classes are over, I study, do my homework, and enjoy my extracurricular activities. Being on the executive committee for a few clubs on campus gives me plenty to do after class, plus I also find time to be with my friends – doing homework, watching a movie, going for dinner in the dining hall, or taking a quick subway ride to Manhattan to explore the cultural opportunities of NYC.
What was the most memorable moment of your STEM program?
My most memorable moment was in the simulation lab during my sophomore year. The simulation lab on campus is equipped with hospital beds and equipment, as well as model patients known as SimBots. These SimBots are life sized and realistic, and they are hooked up to machines that give them the ability to exhibit real-life symptoms, including death. Watching the SimBot tell me where they had pain and how it felt gave me the chance to embody being a nurse.
What advice do you have for teens looking at STEM degrees and/or career paths?
My advice for teens looking at STEM degrees is to be dedicated. These careers are difficult, and you can’t be afraid to ask a professor 20 questions every class. STEM degrees and careers are very competitive and I believe in taking advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you. Don’t be afraid of change. STEM will always be advancing and it is our job to advance with it.