We’re back! This week I’m very excited to be joined by Shaylyn Tuite, who just worked very hard to earn her degree from Syracuse University. She was kind enough to make some time for us as she prepares for medical school, and share her experiences as a STEM student.
Name: Shaylyn Tuite
Profession/Area of Study: Syracuse University – BS in Biology and Minor in Psychology
How did you get become interested in your field? In high school I always liked exploring various subjects in the classroom. However, with a father as a pediatrician and mother as a science teacher, I realized early on the exciting potential careers that subjects categorized as STEM could offer. Therefore, I took these classes seriously in high school and in college in order to allow myself these future career options.
It was eventually personal tragedies and hardship that convinced me to pursue a focus in biology in college and medical school for my future. Sadly, as a senior captain on my high school track team, a sixteen year-old teammate and friend unexpectedly passed away from unknown causes in her sleep. Two years later, as a junior in college, my high school track coach – who was pivotal in my introduction into the running world – passed away in the same manner. Among these tragedies I was also struggling with recurrent injuries while competing at the Division I level as a long-distance runner. These included multiple stress fractures, muscle strains, and illnesses. These personal losses and injuries cumulatively fueled my interest in medicine and love for science. I gradually gained a sense of knowledge, understanding and closure for these traumatic events using the material’s studied in STEM.
Are there any STEM developments you are especially excited to see play a part innovating your field? The growing incorporation of Psychology into medicine has been thrilling to see. I believe that the most effective way to take care of others should involve both biological and emotional knowledge. In my opinion, the physical and mental aspects of health are more intertwined than traditionally given credit for.
Any advice for student considering studying/working in your field? First, I believe that everyone should stay open minded and well rounded in his or her studies, especially early on. Even though I eventually specialized in science, this didn’t mean that I also didn’t take interest in other areas of study as well. I even found them to even compliment each other at times. Second, even though a specific area of study such as STEM may seem challenging and over-whelming– it is really the opportunities you will have after mastering these subjects that will make it worth it in the end. Whether it is as a doctor, teacher, or engineer you will find that the opportunities these careers give you are so much more than what these subjects once seemed to be in school. I truly feel as long as a person stays well rounded and keeps the big picture in mind in their studies they will be successful no matter what route they choose.
Thank you so much for sharing, Shaylyn. It is so inspiring to see how tragedy paved the way to such a bright future. I know we can expect big things from you in the years to come!
Shaylyn makes a wonderful point about how non-STEM disciplines often support a successful career. For more information, here is a wonderful infographic and more information on STEAM (science, techology, engineering, art, and math) from the University of Florida.