Mylene Tu, Founder of FEMinSTEM
FEMinSTEM is a female empowerment movement focused on making opportunities accessible across Ontario. Opportunities and resources specifically revolving around STEM studies and self-growth. Mylene Tu, 19 years old, a candidate for a bachelor of applied science in management engineering with an option in entrepreneurship, and varsity athlete, provides 3 areas of focus to help grow individual interests and networks. She categorizes these categories into finding opportunities, exploration of the facts, and motivating females looking to get into stem or who are already in stem.
Mylene founded FEMinSTEM in April 2018 as a reaction to her first year university experience. Being a female in engineering, she noticed that the difference in value and attention towards female engineers is dismal. She wanted to change that. During her first co-op term at Metrolinx, she found herself in a completely new environment. Being alone in a new city, she began exploring and filled her calendar with over 15 networking events. Through the attendance of so many events, she discovered a new love for empowerment and wanted to share that feeling with other females. FEMinSTEM was created with the intention of opening up the opportunities for females in stem by being a platform of resources.
Mylene is now exploring multiple ways to help her FEMinSTEM community. Already having over 70 users within her social groups, multiple completed workshops, and the support from multiple organizations, it is safe to say that Mylene has fulfilled the beginnings of her mission.
We had the chance to talk with Mylene and we asked her, “what do you tell to females looking into STEM who feel hesitant because of the gender gap” and “what is it that motivates you to do what you do”. Her response was:
“My answer to the first question is simply the fact that every opportunity is what you make out of it. You can choose to stay within the bounds of your comfort zone and be confined to doubt, or you can take a scary yet very rewarding step out of your comfort zone. The gender gap is something that exists however it's presence shouldn't be the determining factor in your presence within STEM. In other words although the gap exists, it all boils down to perception. If you focus on yourself and being the best version of yourself, you will slowly learn how to conquer those doubts and no external factors will come in the way of your self-driven ambitions. Give yourself the chance- have some faith in yourself and don't be afraid to stand out in a crowd, you have something special to offer so make it known.”
“My answer to the second question is that I've always grown up placing a high value on intrinsic motivation; the drive to do something that is rooted within oneself without compromise. I never saw myself becoming so passionate about working in the space of empowerment and gender diversity in STEM but the key trait that allowed me to do so was my eagerness to make an impact and inspire. I'm motivated through all that I do with FEM in STEM due to the fact that it is based on personal experience and personal values, I saw a need and acted on it aimlessly. I didn't know where to start or what exactly I was doing but I did it anyways and here I am now. My journey with FEM in STEM was never linear, it has changed so much since my initial idea behind it and I believe that it will continue to change as I progress in my career. There have been many instances of doubt and self-validation however at the end of the day, seeing the real impact that FEM in STEM makes and developing REAL connections with these young women is something no one can replace. Watching other young women become empowered and hearing them reach out for advice or just to chat makes my day- it makes me thankful for being a part of this wonderful community. On a more personal level, my work with FEM in STEM is something that reached way beyond anything I ever saw myself doing, it is something I take pride in having built from the ground up and it is something that compliments my education and my interests. It allows me to intersect my ambitions with reality then relay that to others to do the same- it is something that even when times get hectic and stressful, I can reflect on and find peace in. FEM in STEM is a reflection of my passions, values, interests and ambitions and it is something no one can take away from me.”
With everything that Mylene does at just the age of 19, she represents leaving legacy by being a beacon of possibilities. University student, varsity athlete, and company founder. If she can do all of those things, then you can to! Understand vision, her vision is so strong that everything that might be of an obstacle to others, is no obstacle at all. Fulfillment through vision and nothing can stand in your way!