PhD Candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
HBSc, Double Major Animal Physiology and Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, University of Toronto
Host, Ontario Science Centre
When did your love of STEM begin?
Cylita: I don't have a pinpoint for when it started. I think I've always just been fascinated with things around me I can't even see the natural world. I get excited about everything. I remember being really small and just needing to know the name of every single thing I saw, whether that was the insects on the plants outside, the plants themselves, or whether it was my dad's tools in the garage. He's a mechanic so I spent a lot of time hanging out with him. I just have had this desire to name things and understand what they do. My parents have done a lot to foster those interests through time.
What do you love most about studying in your field of STEM?
Cylita: What I love most about studying STEM is that every time I've got a question and I go looking for the answer, I come up with another question. I really enjoy the fact that even in this day and age with as much information as we have access to, there are still so many things we don't know. So many questions that we haven't answered yet. We have hypotheses about what the answer might be or guesses as to what that answer might be. We have ways that we could possibly test to figure out that particular answer but we don't know what the answer is yet. And so that kind of open round for discovery and so many questions that remain unanswered is really what I like the most about studying STEM.
“I love so many things about my work. I love that every day I get to come in and do what I want... I get to decide the question that I'm going to answer that day.”
What advice would you give to young women considering a career in STEM?
Cylita: Advice I would give to young women considering careers in STEM. Is that you should do it. You should absolutely do it even if you're not sure if you want to be a scientist or an engineer. I think that STEM degrees are really exciting places to be because you're always learning new things and you develop so many valuable skills that benefit you in ways that you've never imagined, and will help you regardless of the career that you go on to later in life.You should do it and you should not let anyone stop you from doing it and you shouldn't let the fact that maybe you're in a space where you don't look like everybody else stop you from pursuing what you want to do.