I am Pulkita Jain, an international student studying chemical engineering at Santa Barbara City College. I applied to the BE program and SIAM CSE19 conference through Phi Theta Kappa. I was apprehensive to apply because I am merely a city college student who was majoring in chemical engineering. When I was told that I will not only get to be a part of the conference, but also be a part of the Broader Engagement program and a part of the Guided Affinity Groups as a protege, I felt on top of the world. This was my first conference and first program where I was given a chance to be a part of something bigger than me and my community.
As a woman in a STEM field, resources for us are often limited. This conference and the BE program, however, showed me otherwise. It helped me garner resources not just for myself, but also for my peers at Santa Barbara Community College, which has infused a sense of enthusiasm in them. Since I am a transfer student at a community college, I did not expect that I would get a chance to be a part of something on this scale. Every seminar that I went to, every program that was organized for us and every networking opportunity that was given to us reassured me that I picked the right major and the right community to be a part of. Although I was much younger than everyone at the conference, all of the students and especially my mentor took me under their wing and did not let me feel that I did not belong. The research that these students are doing inspired me to go into research.
I was so inspired and enthused by all of the research, opportunities and the feeling of community, that when I got back, I started a student chapter of SIAM at Santa Barbara City College. My professors and peers, impressed by this conference and feedback they got from me, helped start this student chapter in the Fall of 2019. Currently, we have over 100 members who are interested in Applied Math, and are exploring that as an option because they joined this student chapter.
I am extremely thankful for the advice given by the BE Mentors, now that I am transferring to a 4-year institution, I am coming closer to my dreams. I also wanted to extend my gratitude towards Mary Ann Leung, Sustainable Horizons Institute and Phi Theta Kappa for extending this opportunity to me, that has brought me one step closer to my dreams. I feel like I belong in this community and that there are a lot of resources available to me.
Santa Barbara Community College Student