STEM Up: Kaitlyn Contreras

Just one phone call stood between Kaitlyn and joining the US Army – A call from her school’s admissions office. Kaitlyn works as a research assistant at Global and Public Health Office and Institute for Leadership Initiative, and has recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. She aspires to be a doctor one day and nothing’s going to stop this fierce little woman from becoming one. Let’s get to know her better!

1.What’s your story?

Born and raised in Dallas, TX, I quickly realized that you don’t have to go to a third world country to find people who lack basic necessities. My single mother put all of our needs before hers and after feeling a mass on her breast, she decided to ignore because who would pay for the doctor visit? Playing ball with my brother, a freak accident occurred and she was hit in the chest by the ball. The insane pain forced her to get checked and was notified of having breast cancer. This emotional incident gave my life a purpose- advocating for women’s health and well-being.

2.What is your specific area of STEM?

I am pursuing a medical degree, potentially in gynaecology.

3.What does being a woman in STEM means to you?

For me to be a woman in STEM means to be a leader in my community. I want to use my education and science for the betterment of the community.

4.What are some really cool things you have had a chance to work on?

Working in research has been very fulfilling for me. I am a research assistant at the Center For Global And Public Health at Southern Methodist University, and I have worked on research involving HPV, cervical cancer, and breast cancer.

5.What are your future career goals?

I aspire to develop a women’s health program in low income communities.

6.What message would you like to give to our young readers?

My message to anyone who wants to study is DO NOT BE AFRAID. You can do anything if you stay driven and determined. Your struggles will push you towards success. I have learned it’s OK to be afraid and to use that as a motivation. I definitely believe I can be a doctor, and so can you.

Thank you for reading our fifth STEM Up interview for this season! Kaitlyn has so much to share, check out her full story here.

Follow us on Instagram for more women in STEM interviews at codejammies

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