In a world where gender disparities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields still persist, Hemanya Sharma, a Surrey student with a passion for STEM, is making waves. Her journey began with a simple idea: to create a STEM club for young girls in her community. Today, she's not only realized her dream but also secured a $70,000 scholarship for her remarkable contributions to promoting STEM education among girls.
When she first embarked on her mission, Sharma was plagued by the common fear that people wouldn't show up. However, at the club's inaugural meeting, ten eager girls did, dispelling her doubts and igniting her passion for change. Identifying the need for more girls in STEM, Sharma didn't find it challenging to get girls to join; the real challenge lay in advertising her club effectively. Undeterred, she set out to learn the ropes. Armed with an idea, she gave a persuasive presentation to her school principal and was met with support from a sponsor teacher as well.
Through unwavering determination, the bright mind cultivated leadership skills and has now formed an executive team to ensure the club's longevity even after her departure. Beyond her immediate goals, Sharma has grand plans to expand her club's reach, aiming to establish chapters in other schools and even at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she will be pursuing engineering.
Sharma enters university with a prestigious scholarship under her belt. A graduate of Enver Creek Secondary, Sharma is one of 20 Canadian students chosen to be recipients of the $70,000 TD Scholarships for Community Leadership. “Youth, especially students entering Grade 12, should proactively apply for scholarships. Don’t be scared to apply thinking you won’t win. Maybe enough students won’t apply, and you’ll stand out. Believe in your accomplishments. You won’t know until you don’t apply.”, outlines Sharma.
Undoubtedly, balancing academics, extracurricular activities, and a social life was a significant challenge, but Sharma's ability to prioritize and manage her time effectively was a key factor in her success. Her unwavering commitment to closing the gender gap in STEM kept her going, even when the path seemed daunting. She identified the root cause of this gender gap as a lack of awareness and education about STEM fields among young girls. “You can’t be interested in something you don’t even know about”, says the enthusiastic volunteer.
Sharma's own journey into robotics and coding began at an early age, thanks to her father's determination to provide her with opportunities, despite the challenges. Recognizing that not all children have access to such experiences, the go-getter launched her club, offering free accessible STEM classes to school students. Sharma’s philosophy entails that by introducing STEM to young minds early, they will be more inclined to pursue STEM-related courses and careers as they progress through high school and beyond.
As a message, the young powerhouse provides genuine advice to her peers, “To those who want to make a difference, I say don't be afraid to start, seek guidance from those who have walked the path before, and never underestimate the impact you can have when you follow your passion. To young girls interested in STEM, I encourage you to get involved, talk to people who can help you learn more, and never be afraid to pursue your dreams!”