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Meet Amelia Camino

 

What is your major?

I am majoring in Physics and AMS.

Why did you pick this major?

I picked Physics because of the subject matter, which I found interesting since high school. I also found the under-representation of women in the field to be something that appealed to me, because I want to help change that statistic and encourage other females to study this field. I have also always found myself being drawn to math, especially since it allows me to explore computer science as a method for applying numerical computation.

What year are you in school?

I am a junior.

What are your future career goals?

My current plans are to attend grad school and complete a PhD in Physics. My ultimate goal/endgame is to work in a National Lab and focus on outreach opportunities for marginalized students and women in STEM. 

What made you interested in this career choice?

I like the idea of research as a career since it allows me to carve my own path in a way. I don’t have to work in the confinement of one specific job task, but can truly explore this area of study and have the freedom to follow through with my own processes and thoughts, delving deeper on notions that I find interesting.

Was there a person in your life who influenced your interest to pursue a career/major in STEM? How did they encourage/support you?

Yes! My dad! He is currently a physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and was an immigrant in the US. He always told me when I was growing up that you have to love what you do in life and have a profound passion for it. With this, he would say, you will never feel like you are chasing for a title to define you but like you are finding your own path while tackling the world’s problems, it’ll feel fun.

When did you know STEM was the right path for you?

In high school I was in WISE (Women in Science and Engineering)  which provided me with various different research opportunities. This exposure to STEM made me realize how much I enjoy the scientific process and coming up with my own topics to explore further. The STEM path was solidified when I had my first research opportunity in explorations in STEM here at SBU.

Did/Do you participate in any STEM related activities?

I do research outside of campus at BNL. I’m also on the CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program) advisory board. This position allows me to make workshops for my fellow students that I would have wanted when I was in their year.

How do you find the classroom environment in your major? Is it welcoming/enjoyable?

Most of my physics classes are in big lecture halls, so it’s harder to make friends. Although, on a positive note, it forces me to step out of my comfort zone and say hi to other students, ask questions, visit office hours, and form study groups.

Do you have any role models on campus? Who are they?

My first role model on campus was Dr. Joanna Kiryluk. She was one of the only women on her floor in the physics building, which was definitely an inspiration to me as well as many others as she was highly recognized. She took me in as a freshman, when I was young and naïve. She worked me really hard over the first summer working under her tutelage, though it only made me better and helped to build my professional and programming skills. She also introduced me to even more research opportunities. 

Do you feel you have adequate access to materials and knowledge relating to your major?

Yeah, I can always turn to Doreen Aveni (WISE Honors Program Administrator), Dr. Christine Veloso (Co-Director for STEP/CSTEP) , Lizsaura Gonzalez (Project Coordinator for STEP/CSTEP) or Carrie-Ann Miller (Director for experiential learning in STEM Smart programs). Together, they all expose me to an even larger network of people willing to support me and help me in my field.

Is there anything you would change in the requirements of your major?

I would love to expand on my communication skills, because unfortunately STEM majors are not known for their great communication. With these skills I’d be more able to communicate my ideas more effectively and simply put, physics is a team job. Without the ability to communicate efficiently problems and issues wouldn’t be dealt with in a comprehensive manner. 

Do you feel responsible to encourage the younger generation to pursue STEM careers? How might you do this in the future?

Yes! To do this I have taught Saturday programs for middle school to help them prepare for their regents. In my mind if young students see a female of an ethnic minority or more representation in general, it will make physics seem less daunting. It will help them to see that they can do it too.

Were you always a STEM major or did you switch? If so, what made you switch? How do you feel about your choice?

I used to be a math major before I switched to AMS. I definitely made the right choice, since I am definitely more inclined towards the experimental side of Physics.

Are there any further comments you’d like to make that can be added to your “Spot Light”?

If anyone has any questions or just wants someone to talk to regarding their academics or getting into research, you are more than welcome to reach out to me. We can just grab a coffee and have a good conversation. My email is amelia.camino@stonybrook.edu.