5 STEM Myths Debunked


It’s nothing unfamiliar, when I share my journey in STEM now, to receive comments like “I wish I would’ve considered it, but I didn’t think I was smart enough” or “I’m not the best at math, I would’ve never made it.” Can I share with you that I had these exact thoughts when I first considered the field? Yes, me. I am no extraordinaire, crazy genius, or talent. I’m just crazy passionate.

And to further expand on my backstory - I had no background in STEM growing up. My parents weren’t in STEM. No one ever told me “you should consider the technical field, you would do great!”. Math wasn’t my strong suit. Not to mention, I personally witnessed very little to zero STEM outreaches dedicated to girls. Women remain highly underrepresented in the field and it is not surprising when young girls conform to the stereotypes.

So take what I’m about to say and let it simmer into your soul: it is not your background, gender, personal characteristics, or current level of expertise that depicts how well you will thrive in the field. It’s your perseverance, willingness to learn, and interests in being challenged that will pave your road to success. Therefore, I’m going to bust all of the myths that I once thought or others may still think!

Girls in Engineering at NASA, STEM Myths
It’s your perseverance, willingness to learn, and interests in being challenged that will pave your road to success.
— Mary Nguyen

It’s only for boys

Women are killin’ it in the field every single day. It’s true that there is a smaller percentage of us, but you may be able to see why. We run from it thinking we are simply not good enough or that it’s not our place. But oh hunny, it is.

I read an article a while back saying that more women in the field would indefinitely make the workforce evolve, because it’s all in our nature. We’re generally deemed as more nurturing, personable, and compassionate. This is crucial in a field that’s centered around teamwork and leadership. Our fresh perspectives, unique characteristics, and world-changing ideas give us leverage in the industry, believe that.

I have to be an A+ math student

I was not at all great at math in high school and college. And I hate to bust a bubble, but there are a lot of science, tech and engineering jobs out there that doesn’t require more math knowledge than how to use a calculator. Having a good math background definitely helps, but it does not solely determine how “qualified” you are.

I’d also like to add that even though I started out as not-so-great at math, I do math everyday as apart of my job now. I create user-intuitive math templates for Senior Engineers and all team members to use. It proves that it’s not at all about your past or current circumstances, but the actions you take to overcome the barriers.

I have to be smart, period

What even determines how smart one is? To me, it’s how resourceful you are. Just because you don’t know the answer, does not mean you can’t find the answer. So let’s be real, no one is born “smart”. Regardless of the field, all knowledge and experience comes with time and commitment. And you have control over that!

It’s not a creative field

”Creativity is the secret sauce in STEM.” From classrooms to the actual workforce, you’re taught how to take an idea or concept and bring it to life. Thinking outside of the box, problem solving, and determining creative solutions is the root of the industry. Someone once said that some of the best scientists and engineers are dreamers, builders, inventors, and innovators.

It’s antisocial

One of the most important factors, if not the core, of our jobs is teamwork. How does a company build a multi-billion dollar airplane or rocket without a ton of cross-communication, brainstorming as team or group effort? More often than not, my job tasks requires engaging and meeting with engineers in a variety of disciplines and departments.