STEM needs less competition and more camaraderie

As the world pauses today to celebrate Women and Girls in Science, one woman in Central Ohio is hoping that we can encourage a little more camaraderie and a little less competition in the STEM fields.

Susanna Tanck, an engineer at Nexceris, a Lewis Center, Ohio-based, renewable energy-focused company, said while she hopes we can achieve more equity and intersectionality for women in STEM, she feels that we might encourage more young women to study STEM subjects if we make more room for them.

“A lot of young women who are interested in STEM are made to feel like there isn’t enough room for all of us in their future careers,” Tanck said. “This creates a competitive environment where women feel like they have to compete for their place at the table. It’s vital that young women see that the reality is a lot of women support other women in STEM. We have to create spaces where women feel supported and are ensured that there is room for them and that they are welcome. That their ideas and emotions are valid and in fact, necessary.”

Tanck, who holds a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering, said she became interested in science because of her dad, who is also an engineer. He let her tag along with his projects. She was always taking things apart and putting them back together while growing up and her main toys were Legos and K’nex.

Her mentors were many. “I was very fortunate to grow up surrounded by strong, independent women who taught me a lot of my morals I have today,” she said. “My mom and my older sister, both of my grandmas, aunts, teachers, family friends and so on!