Her Hope is to Inspire Young Women to Reach for the Stars

“I’ve always been a firm believer that the first steps toward achieving your dreams is believing that they are possible,” says Emily Gerstein, senior, Materials Engineering. “Reaching for the sky always proves easier when you have a support system and strong role models to look toward when things get tough.”

Gerstein will be one of four young women presenting at a program designed to engage more women in male dominated fields. The Milwaukee Business Journal’s STEaM Summit for Girls (science, technology, engineering, art and math) will be held March 10 at the Italian Community Center. The day is geared for girls 10-18 years old and their parents.

“When I was younger, my parents always taught me that I could be anything I wanted, and when I started to show interest in the sciences they did whatever possible to find me someone who could teach me more, whether it had been engineering, biology, chemistry, and even manufacturing,” Gerstein said.

She has brought that passion and drive to UWM, where, during the course of her engineering studies, she won first and second place in two of the College of Engineering & Applied Science Student Research Poster Competitions, interned in metallurgy with MetalTek International in Waukesha, and worked side-by-side with two professors (Pradeep Rohatgi, UWM Distinguished Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, and Benjamin Schultz, Research Associate, Materials Science & Engineering) to run the American Foundry Society Student Chapter.

Professional women have been encouraging her every step of the way, she says, starting in high school.

“I met several truly inspiring young women throughout high school who showed me that hard work, dedication and a passion for improving the world we live in, for everyone, can take you anywhere you set your mind to.”

Gerstein—who has dreamed of passing on this message to the next generation—will get her chance at the STEaM Summit. “I volunteered for because I hope to not only share my love for engineering, but to possibly inspire someone to reach for the stars,” she said.

Learn more about the STEaM Summit.