Professional Development

Ask any parent: they want to raise their child with the confidence that they can accomplish anything. Their future and professional development does not depend on their background or starting point. My new book, Diversed In Stem, released on April 14 on Amazon! It’s an inspiring and easy-to-read children’s book that explores self-knowledge and the idea that anything can be created—anything is possible!

The aim of my book is to teach children about a variety of possible STEM careers. With the help of engaging illustrations and stories, your child will learn that, no matter their background, they can visualize themselves in any STEM career they choose.

“Diversed In STEM” was inspired by my own life. To be fully transparent, as a child or young adult, I would never have seen myself where I am today. Growing up in Philly, I lacked motivation and drive. When I found belief in myself and developed discipline, I realized the possibilities were endless. I have been fortunate to be in a STEM career since I graduated from college. I’ve also been fortunate to work with and learn from some amazing people from different cultures. I have seen first-hand the impact of having diversity in STEM, specifically when it comes to innovation and bringing different ideas to the table. I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more diversity in STEM careers, specifically with people that look and come from areas like myself. My hope is that my book will inspire children of all backgrounds to imagine themselves in cool STEM careers.

Writing my first book has been a journey. The idea and concept sat in my head for three years and I didn’t pursue it! My life experiences over the past few years have given me the mindset that I need to at least give my ideas a try. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t spend your final days wondering what if. Finally, in June of 2021 I begin to take steps towards actually trying to publish my work as a children’s book. I knew what I wanted my book to be about, but I did not know how everything would come together, which began to cause fear and doubt. I kept going back to my why—what is the reason I’m writing this book? You never know the impact that your work might have on somebody. Just having that point in mind is what motivated me to continue. Getting my book finalized and published was a long journey. From going through different drafts of my writing and revisions of illustrations, to writer’s block and just general overwhelm—honestly, there were many times I wanted to give up. I went through all the emotions; it helps to always go back to your why whenever you feel lost or confused.

Now, as a published author, I have decided it’s time to enhance my writing skills and take them to the next level. Yes, I have published a book—but there is still a lot I feel that I need to work on. My own professional development is far from complete. Writing is a hobby that I’ve built up in the past few years; I guess I just picked up a new interest as I’ve grown older. I love writing down my thoughts and then reading them back, and looking at myself from the outside. You should try it, and you may find you enjoy it after a while, too.

As a writer, it’s important that you understand both your creative and critical sides. While taking a class called writing essentials, I have learned to separate my creative side from my critical side. That way of thinking has made writing even more enjoyable for me. Previously, I would critique myself line by line as I wrote. Now, I write out my complete thoughts without being critical until the end. This has given me freedom in my writing, and my thoughts are clearer when I don’t worry about the critical side at first.

The critical side of writing is still important. When we think of professional development, we can relate it to things like a promotion, better pay, or in my case, just wanting to learn and improve for our own fun. We should constantly brush up on the things that are important to us. As an avid reader and writer, I understand the importance of investing in my craft. We can’t just expect to be great at something, we have to put the work in. Getting in shape doesn’t happen overnight—you have to eat right and put in time at the gym. Any goal functions the same way—it takes work and dedication to succeed.
I like to think about this with the formula, work + work = less work. This just means that if we put extra time and work into our craft now, in the long run we are creating less work for ourselves. Just think about what a small investment can do, not only for your career, but for your confidence. I’m very confident in my abilities but I’m also my own greatest critic.

Just as a child can innocently believe that anything is possible, your professional development doesn’t have to stall just because you are no longer a child with your whole life ahead. You can pursue your interests, grow your craft, and achieve your dreams if you are willing to put in the work.