Panelists shared their experiences confronting adversity as women in STEM at a Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) event held on Monday.

The Women in STEM Panel featured five accomplished panelists — Natalia Basualdo, Kirsten Kires, Terri Peters, Kaiyan Yu and Aaron Beedle — and keynote speaker Meghan Crist, who all have years of professional STEM experience. Students had the opportunity to engage with these experts to learn more about their experiences and STEM contributions. ColorStack, Woman in Tech and Alpha Omega Epsilon were among the campus organizations present at the event.

“Our Women in STEM Panel has the same, main goal as all of the events our organization holds — to inspire and uplift others within our community,” Ledwiska Toribio, SHPE’s secretary and a senior majoring in computer science, wrote in an email. “For this event specifically, we want to honor and learn from professional women in the STEM field during Women’s History Month and share this insight with other younger women entering the STEM field, hoping that they learn and connect with others who are in a field where they aspire to be in.”

SHPE, a national organization aiming to promote diversity in STEM fields, especially for Hispanic people, holds an annual convention with over 350 companies in attendance to recruit potential employees and discuss research. BU’s chapter, founded in 2002, has about 80 active members and holds various professional and social events throughout the year to engage with their members and build professional connections.

At the beginning of the event, Crist, the keynote speaker and an assistant director of undergraduate advising at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering, shared her experience with imposter syndrome in a male-dominated field and how she worked to overcome those challenges. Crist encouraged young women in STEM to help one another reach their goals and to speak positively to themselves and others.

“Be the star forward,” Crist said. “Look out for each other. When you see one of your friends, classmates or colleagues struggling, starting to lose hope or just can’t find their way back … give them a smile or words of encouragement. Jump in with an enthusiastic yes to help — even if that yes is followed up by, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’”

Ann Badia, SHPE’s vice president and a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, led a Q&A session where the panelists shared their perspectives on navigating disadvantageous environments and growing self-confidence. Beedle, an associate professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences, described her research on imposter syndrome.

“One of the best ways to counteract imposter syndrome is to prepare,” Beedle said. “If you’re going to be talking about something, make sure you’ve read it. You might be the only person at the table who actually has.”

After prepared questions were answered, audience members were able to ask the panelists about their experiences and strategies they had used to overcome adversity. Questions centered around dealing with academic failure and advocating for themselves in school and in the workplace. Panelists encouraged students to use available resources and to deal with conflict gracefully.

Kirstie Chinchilla, SHPE’s corporate relations chair and a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, gave closing remarks, thanking the campus organizations that attended the event. The panelists encouraged young women in STEM to look out for one another and remain resilient despite dealing with struggles and lack of representation.

“What’s important in going into STEM is having that confidence in yourself — and it is events like these that help with enhancing that confidence,” said Fiorella Wells, an undeclared freshman who attended the event.