Scholars See Themselves in STEM

In celebration of Mass STEM week, Wiceline Pierre, BHS Class of 2020 and a current sophomore at UMass Amherst, reflects on how Brooke inspired and prepared her to pursue science in college.

Was there a moment or experience that made you fall in love with science?

Studying science was always an interest of mine. Growing up, my family wanted to see me as a doctor or nurse. I realized over time that I was really fond of science classes. I’ve also wanted to take more science and upper sciences classes, my senior year at Brooke High I even took two science classes, Advanced Placement (AP) Bio and medical interventions. I have always been drawn to science and loved it.

What are you studying now? Where did your interest in that area come from?

I am a sophomore at UMass Amherst in the college of natural sciences, and I haven’t declared a major yet. I’m really interested in public health, and I’m trying to decide whether to take the management or science route in that major. I’m interested in public health because it is more connected to the community and how community health is impacted by different factors.

What has been unexpected about studying STEM in college? What is exciting?

A lot of things are circling in my head, with ideas of what I want to do with my future. The exciting part is figuring out my interests and what I’m really passionate about. It is not an easy process. At first, I was really sure I wanted to go pre-med and go to medical school. But now I am more interested in public health. As I get ready to declare a major, I’ve talked to an advisor in the public health department and another in microbiology to understand the programs.

I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t expect that learning the material requires more than just attending class. I have to go over my notes, read the textbook, and talk to the professors to master the content, which is different from high school.

How did Brooke prepare you to study STEM in college?

AP Bio was a lot like college classes. It was fas- paced and really hard. AP Bio was really hard, but even though it was hard it was also really interesting. I pushed myself to keep going because it was important to me and my future. It also showed me what to expect in college.

Right now I’m in a bio lab, and I already know things like micro-pipetting, because we covered it in AP Bio. In general, they [BHS teachers] advised us well in telling us how to reach out and not be shy to ask for help.

What is your favorite science memory from Brooke?

We did a lot of cool things in medical interventions. Towards the end of the school year, we were doing an experiment to figure out the best stitching method, like in surgery, with our shoelaces. That class was really hands-on. We connected medical interventions like wheelchairs and glasses to the real life situations and impacts of people using them. I love the idea of building something to help someone.

What makes a good science class?

When science is relatable, you can connect more to the content. When it’s about your bodies, your community, and relates to your life, it’s more interesting and engaging.