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2021 Superstars of STEM

ohnson & Johnson is committed to supporting programs that increase opportunities for girls and women to explore and succeed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. We have been a long-standing supporter of the New York Academy of Sciences' Global STEM Alliance and their 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program.

In July 2021, participants of the 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program were invited to take part in the third annual Superstars of STEM essay contest, which asked them to share stories about modern-day women in STEM who inspire them. To see why science excites this year’s contest winner and four finalists, read their essays.

Spotlight on Stories

A 17-year-old Canadian was selected as the 2021 Superstars of STEM essay contest winner. Kelsey Holmquist’s inspiring and timely essay highlights her sister, a front-line healthcare worker and student whose nursing career began during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her illuminating piece illustrates the critical role that nurses play in healthcare settings, and the many thankless sacrifices they make – at work and at home – to deliver quality care to their patients.
An 18-year-old STEM enthusiast from India was selected as a finalist of the 2021 Superstars of STEM essay contest. Aditi Jha penned an engaging profile on Dr. Pardis Sabeti, an Iranian American biologist and geneticist whose transformative real-time genomic sequencing has helped fight viral outbreaks such as Ebola and COVID-19. Aditi’s essay highlights how as a world-renowned geneticist and the lead singer of a rock band, Dr. Sabeti’s example inspires the next generation of STEM and shows young women that their wildest dreams are within reach.
16-year-old Connie Huang of California was selected as a finalist for the 2021 Superstars of STEM essay contest. Her moving essay highlighted Gao Yaojie, a Chinese OBGYN and AIDS activist who dedicated her post-retirement career to AIDS prevention, education and treatment in China. Connie shares how Gao’s tenacity has inspired her to pursue her STEM dreams despite the many barriers that exist for women, particularly in China.
17-year-old Serena Hoxha of Albania was selected as a finalist for the 2021 Superstars of STEM essay contest for her poignant piece exploring the life and work of Ethiopian plant scientist Dr. Segenet Kelemu. Serena’s passion for Dr. Kelemu’s critically important work toward ending world hunger is evident, particularly in how it inspires her to be fierce and unapologetic in pursuit of her own STEM career aspirations.
18-year-old Magdalena Orlowska, a STEM student from Poland, was selected as a finalist of the 2021 Superstars of STEM essay contest. Magdalena told the story of Chinese physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, a pioneer in physics and nuclear research. Her essay explores the many hardships that Wu faced throughout her STEM journey as a woman, noting that her courage and perseverance are an inspiration and example to all young women who are interested in STEM.

Fueling Future Innovators With the Global STEM Alliance

Seema Kumar, Vice President of Innovation, Global Health and Science Policy Communication at Johnson & Johnson explains why it is vital to support programs such as 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures.
Fueling Future Innovators With the Global STEM Alliance
Fueling Future Innovators With the Global STEM Alliance

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