Editor's Note: This post is part of a series produced by HuffPost's Girls In STEM Mentorship Program. Join the community as we discuss issues affecting women in science, technology, engineering and math.
By Gina Ryder
"What inspires you?”
A question like that brings to mind clichés more fitting at a beauty pageant. Yet when you ask a STEM girl, the responses might well cause you to straighten up and pay attention.
The Huffington Post posed this question to the applicants of our Girls In STEM Mentorship Program
. More than 1,000 young women responded to our call-outs last December, and amid all the different names, ages, locations, career motivations and educational backgrounds, we were blown away by the deep purpose each applicant found in her studies and future career.
So in celebration of International Day of the Girl Child
and the quest to empower young women everywhere, we've compiled some of our favorite responses to this question in the following list. Hopefully they inspire you like they've inspired us.
What inspires you? What inspires your pursuit of STEM?
"Seeing my work impact a person's life, no matter how small the action. I know my thoughts can transform into action." - Phyllis, 21, Aspiring pharmacist
"I find the the research towards finding an AIDS vaccine fascinating." - Taryn, 14, Aspiring Orthopaedic/Neurological surgeon
"My whole life, all I ever dreamed about when growing up is to help somebody in a powerful way. I want to make lives better or help move society forward to a future with less misunderstandings and ignorance. Women have been doing this throughout history, and if I could do something just half as good as them, I would be more than satisfied." - Florencia, 20, Interested in a career in health physics