Hi, Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Fernanda Sulantay. I'm a chemical engineer starting my PhD in chemical engineering at Yale University. I'm also a data science enthusiast and I'm a content creator.
What are you working on?
I'm currently doing theoretical research in the chemical engineering field using science and programming. I'm also finishing my data science bootcamp and working on data science side projects.
What are you researching?
I'm researching theoretical foundations of solution dehydration in porous media and the effects of microstructure and solute interactions on it. I use MATLAB to create mathematical models that fit our data and that will predict future behavior.
How did you get into your current field?
I always liked my math and science courses in school (I would do algebra problems for fun in middle school lol), so in addition to my mom's advice, I decided to study engineering. I learned coding in college and I thought it was super cool what a person could do with it so I decided to learn more about it.
What are your goals?
With my social media, my goal is to spread awareness about STEM, to increase diversity in STEM, and also to help non-typical students (first-gen, minorities, moms in school, etc).
Academically, my goal is to graduate with my PhD and start my career as an University Professor.
Do you have a mentor?
There are several people I always have in mind when I need advice on something and I know I can count with them.
Do you mentor anyone?
Yes! I currently have one mentee that I met through a mentoring program in my school. Even though I graduated already, I'm still in contact with him. I plan to be his mentor as long as he needs me to be. And I'm always eager to help whoever asks me for help.
What could the STEM do to better foster female talent?
People in STEM should be more welcoming to females in the field (researchers, professors, students). Girls need female role models, people who look like them, to show them that it is possible to succeed in a STEM field. Another thing I would love is for institutiones and workplaces to help females more when they become moms. There are many women out there trying to figure out how to succeed and have children at the same time primarily because their job/university makes it difficult for them.
What advice would you give to people getting into your field?
My advice to you is to dream big – stretch your goals as Elon Musk advises. Work hard but have fun along the way! I never stopped having fun, I just had to become more organized and productive. Studying less hours while retaining more content is key, be more productive. And always have your eyes on the prize. If you really want it, you will work hard to get it.
What's the best and worst advice you have received?
BEST: The difference between high achievers and others is that they have their eyes on the prize: they don't let anything come in between them and their goals.
WORST: Your grades will dictate your success. Grades are not everything. I have known very successful and smart people that had bad grades.
Who do you follow? what blogs do you read?
I follow a lot of women in STEM that inspire me every day. I love following each of them in their journeys.
As far as blogs, I'm always reading different scientific articles and news but I don't follow a blog specifically.
What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re doing?
Follow my instagram @fernsulantay and my YouTube channel: Fernanda Sulantay. Also, check out my etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/EngineeringBaddies.
I create cute t-shirts for women in STEM.