Kiaraliss Perez (she/her) is an S-STEM Scholar at Mount Mary University. In this S-STEM Scholar Spotlight, Kiaraliss shares how mentorship has helped to shape her love of science and imparts advice for other scholars to seize opportunities and learn through the challenges we face.
Being able to work with new people and create a bond with experienced professionals has helped in shaping me in my journey of loving science. Having other women encourage and inspire me has meant so much to me. I started off my journey with really wanting to do something in science but not truly feeling like I was a scientist. Then I met my mentors, and they showed me how to feel confrontable in the science environment, whether that be in a lab, lecture, as well as talking to others about science. Now I’ve truly started to feel like I am a scientist, and I will continue to become an even better one. Having these mentors has really helped me to progress as a scientist and also to feel more comfortable when talking to others in science about my experiments as well as the process I took in them. I genuinely know that if I didn’t have them as mentors, I would be less confident in myself and not where I have gotten today. My mentors mean a lot to me. I know they will keep pushing me and my limits so that I can become an even better scientist.
My advice to others is to take that chance. If you’re given an opportunity to do something, do it! Even if you feel like you’re not qualified for it, why? Because someone can see in you something that you don’t see in yourself and if you don’t take that chance, you won’t see all the possible things you can do and accomplish. You also don’t know all the doors that opportunity can open for you in the future. Also believe in yourself! Just because something may seem difficult doesn’t mean that you can do it. Challenge yourself because that’s how you learn and if you make mistakes that’s how you know you’re learning. Take that mistake and turn it into another opportunity for growth. To me mistakes show me that I’m trying and that’s already a big step. If you’re learning something for the first time you can expect yourself to get everything right on the first attempt, so give yourself a chance and continue to learn from them.
The S-STEM Scholar Spotlight series shares stories, builds community, and highlights students and alumni and their S-STEM programs. Learn more and submit your spotlight today.