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Marianna Correia (they/them/she/her)

Marianna CorreiaMechatronics Engineering Student and Women for STEM Award Recipient

Throughout their life, Marianna has found STEM unique and different. “I was always interested in science and math, but I didn’t always know why. It was only after I stumbled upon a certain YouTube channel that I figured out I like learning how the world works and why things are the way they are and made me love STEM more since it was applied to a topic I was actually interested in”

Marianna found their interest in STEM began to evolve during high school. “In high school, I was made to feel like I couldn’t go into a STEM field, from people mocking the idea to a math teacher saying calculus would be too difficult for me even though I had one of the highest grades in his class. I always knew there was a gender gap and prejudice in the STEM field, but I wanted to make the world a better place and felt like engineering was the best way to do that; I would find a way to make it and prove everyone wrong. High school was also when I discovered my love of robotics and when I found out I had the drive to create and fix. Engineering seemed like the perfect fit”, Marianna says.

Marianna chose Ontario Tech due to its accredited mechatronics engineering program, something that was unique, unlike any post-secondary program they viewed. Marianna was accepted into Ontario Tech University and was also selected for the Women for STEM Scholarship program in 2020.

Marianna writes, that because of the award, they could worry less about student debt, gain experiences and meet people. “I was always a shy kid before university and didn’t feel comfortable interacting with strangers in a professional setting because I felt like I didn’t know enough. Now, I’m still a shy kid to a degree, but I know it’s ok to not know. It just means more opportunities to learn from people who know best. I can see that all those people saying I couldn’t do it were wrong; if these women can do it, there’s no reason I can’t do it as well” 

Marianna found value in other aspects of the program, acknowledging the celebrate success seminar. “I was not confident or comfortable with myself; I always felt like I was different, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. The Women for STEM program held one workshop that really helped me. The Confidence Gap workshop was aimed at helping women identify some of the reasons they aren’t as confident as men and some tips that help. At this workshop, I realized I need to stop worrying so much about what other people think or might be thinking about me and just be myself completely and unapologetically. This led me to become more comfortable in my own skin as I make small but significant changes to my life and way of thinking”.

Marianna is open to what their future entails. With the education and skills gained at Ontario Tech, they can gain new opportunities in their career and professional development. “As a gender-diverse person with mental and learning disabilities, I fall under many spectrums and know the value of using technology to help bridge gaps. Ultimately, I want to leave the world a better place than the one I came into. I want to make differences that matter”.

“To anyone questioning themselves about if they can do it or for a minority entering a career in STEM, if you can make a difference in just one person’s life, you may not have changed the world, but you just might have changed their world. That’s worth proving all the haters and doubters wrong”.