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National Roller Skating Month: Skaters in STEM!

October is National Roller Skating Month! In honor of the occasion, GiSTEM had the pleasure of interviewing two incredible women in STEM that love skating. As we all know, being in the STEM field comes with challenges, and being able to have an outlet to release stress is so important in this journey. We are excited to introduce you to these #SkatersInSTEM shedding light on how skating keeps them balanced in the world of STEM.

Qiuara (Key) Bell - Just skate the stress away

"Be strong and firm in your beliefs ... don’t doubt yourself because YOU and your efforts matter,” said Qiuara Bell, a Sample Coordinator at Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD). With a background in Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Bell gives credit to her advisor in college that helped influence her decision to pursue the science field. “We spent a lot of time talking about how she became an analytical scientist and she inspired me so much,” said Bell. Bell stated that her advisor worked hard to get to where she was and she wanted to be just as influential to others. “I was going to choose another major but she helped rekindle my love for science when times were hard,” said Bell.

Bell’s career requires her to perform various duties, not limited to monitoring incoming, labeling, and storage of the samples. She has to ensure effective communication with the laboratory about the samples and standard information. Bell's role in the organization is vital to not only be a guide to the laboratory staff but to effectively advise the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the samples. Additionally, she confirms that there is adequate monitoring of the systems where the samples are stored and adhering to regulatory compliance.

Pictured: Quiara Bell, Sample Coordinator at PPD

In 2018, Bell found a new interest that later helped her navigate her work-life balance --- Roller Skating. “Skating takes away all of my is the one thing I can truly depend on to give me the release I seek when I am overwhelmed,” said Bell. She describes skating as “freeing and there’s no better feeling.” She explained that she has no particular skating style, but her skating is influenced by how people skate in the New Jersey/New York area. “Skating just takes the stress away from everything going on in my life … whether it’s the job, my art or just regular life events. When I skate it just all goes away,” explained Bell. It’s just her and the floor. She just leaves all of her troubles there at the end of the session, she explains.

“STEM and Skating teaches me to stay true to myself,” said Bell. She discussed that in skating and in the field it is too easy to be influenced by outside distractions. She emphasized that it's important to remember that you are your only competition and you don’t have anything to prove to anyone but yourself. She continued on to say that learning is the common factor for her in STEM and Skating. “I had to teach myself a lot when it came to both Chemistry and skating. I had to really put a lot of time and work in to be able to achieve the level of knowledge that I have,” said Bell. She referred to herself as a “sponge” because she is always present and willing to absorb by learning.

“Stop holding back and show these people that you know what you’re doing.” Bell can recall that she was not as outspoken, but if she could speak to her younger self she would encourage her to be more outspoken about her opinions and what she feels she could contribute. She recalls there were times that she would know an answer, but would not say it due to imposter syndrome. Bell wants girls who are interested in pursuing STEM to “get out there and put your input in! Never be afraid to speak your mind and go against opinions.” She believes we need more inclusivity and diversity in the field and that there are so many young girls looking for heroes. “There are a lot of women who have contributed to the field but they are underrated, so it is important that organizations shine more light on the women who dedicate their lives to the work in the STEM field.”

Dominique Calder - STEM + Skating = Physics!

Check our latest Facebook live where GiSTEM’s Head of Business, Saqueya Moore, interviews Dominique Calder, a Digital Crimes Investigator at TikTok. She has served in the IT and Cyber space for the last 10 years improving security capabilities and posture for government clients. Dominique is a PhD candidate at George Mason University (GMU) researching file system forensics and partial digital artifact matching. Upon matriculation, she plans to teach cyber security and forensics to underrepresented students.

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