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Saleigh Derico Advocates for STEM Education for All

November 2016

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Saleigh Derico, C'2018, is a junior, dual-degree mathematics/industrial engineering major from Atlanta, Georgia. She serves as a Spelman STEM Ambassador and a member of Sister’s Keeping It Real Through Service (SKIRTS). 

1. What inspired you to major in mathematics?

 I have always had a love for math and solving  problems hence my reason for choosing to be in the Dual Degree Engineering Program.

 2. What are your short-term and long-term  career goals? How do you plan to use your skills to impact change in your chosen field?  
With these degrees, I plan to become an industrial engineer working my way up to being a project manager for a successful company such as Georgia Power, GE Power, Accenture, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc. I am passionate about supporting my community and changing the world through engineering; and it is with great honor that I continue to strive for greatness and reach every goal I set for myself.

3. Please describe any internship, research or study abroad experiences you have had while at Spelman. How (if at all) did these experiences further convince you to pursue your chosen career? 
For the past three summers, I have been doing food chemistry/toxicology and biomedical engineering research. I enjoyed each internship because as an industrial engineer it is important to be able to understand the logic behind the experimentations that are currently being made. In addition, I want to be able to contribute on both sides of the spectrum when I begin partnering with other fields to make the world a better place. 

4. What resonates with you most about the film "Hidden Figures?"

A key aspect in the movie that resonates with me the most is being an African- American woman in a white male dominated field. STEM fields have a low percentage of women and an even a lower percentage of Black women. Although women are underrepresented, it is important to note that we are just as capable, if not overqualified, as men when it comes to sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

5. What person has had the biggest influence upon you as it relates to your interest in mathematics? 
My parents are the biggest influences because they are electrical engineers. I have been exposed to various engineering fields at camps and in my household, so finding solutions and developing innovative ideas hold a huge place in my heart.

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