Exploring the MSU (Montana State University) is a memorable experience for me. Even though I was being cold and shivering, the cold can not stop me from enjoying this beautiful campus and learning about this university.
Founded in 1893, the school initially offered Agriculture and Engineering as two main major subjects. Over the time, programs in the sciences and humanities were added, however, the university’s strength has been still STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Most students here are state residents but there are approximately 700 foreign students too.
I have to thanks my host, Mr. Brit Fontenot, for organizing this tour around MSU for me. Because of this trip, I also had a great opportunity to meet Renee A.Reijo Pera who is the Vice President of Research and Economic Development at MSU. It was impressive for me to figure out she was named one of 20 Influential Women in America by Newsweek magazine in 2006. Her research, which aims at using stem cells for solving human problems such as Parkinson disease, infertility and so on, is appealing to me too. More interestingly, though, is the story of her life.
Growing up poor, losing family, being broke at 23, but she didn’t let hard time stop her. With her passion for science and her persistency, she made her way to become a successful female scientist in a profession that is largely male-dominated. The meeting with her has placed an important impression on me. I still remember she said that women need to lean in more: “Don’t sit at the back, sit at the table”. That they should not worry about raising hand and need to challenge themselves to speak up.