Jordyn Tucker is a senior double majoring in biosystems and agricultural engineering and mechanical engineering. She has completed internships at Big Ass Solutions here in Lexington, Toyota in Georgetown, and Honeywell Aerospace in Torrance, California. She's been involved fin research on biofuels for two years and has currently shifted focus to work on the flocking of fixed wing drones. Her current project within the mechanical engineering department at UK involves building, hard wiring, and coding drones so that only one in a flock of many would need to be controlled. The research will hopefully eventually progress to self-directed drones.
Jordyn chose STEM majors because of her early fascination with dolphins, focusing on engineering after she decided against pursuing marine biology. She credits STEM as one of her motivators that keeps her trying new things. "People tend to think that STEM is very cut and dry, but it involves a lot of design and innovation that women and girls are naturally great at. Additionally, having a STEM education really just empowers women in all aspects. It can be hard, but the feeling of working hard and getting results really changes your outlook on the rest of your life, and give you the confidence to try new things." She also champions women's involvement in these fields for the purpose of diversity of thought. "I think women STEM really bring something unique to the table. We have a lot of different viewpoints, and generally our life experiences are different than that of men, so we can put forth a lot of creativity."
Working in a male-dominated field can be challenging, but Jordyn emphasizes remembering that you represent a group larger than yourself. "If you're the only girl in your class, or the only woman in your department, you end up having to speak up and really take charge to make yourself heard. Even if the men go out of their way to listen to your opinion, as the only woman you want to make sure you represent ALL women really well. The ability to maybe change someone's perception of women in STEM is a really powerful thing, and it's great when you're able to make a positive impact."
Her advice to girls who may suffer from imposter syndrome is to quiet the internal doubt and hesitation: "it's a "fake it until you make it" sort of scenario. Everyone needs someone in their life who can hype them up, but it's important to practice doing so for yourself. Shut that voice down, kick it away. People aren't going to doubt you for asking for help, just make sure you do a thorough check before you ask. Your natural desire to do well will show, and you will learn enough that eventually your imposter syndrome isn't as strong as your confidence."
To Jordyn, being a woman in STEM means being smart, fearless and confident. "Even if you don't start out that way, or don't think you embody those things, that's what being a woman in STEM does to you."
Campus Representative: Hannah Thompson