International Day of Women and Girls in Science: Making a Difference Through Research

This episode of Michigan Minds is part of a series produced by the University of Michigan Public Engagement and Impact Initiative and the Office of the Vice President for Research in celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Undergraduate research student Ayse Eldes joined Michigan Minds to share how she became interested in STEM, her love for research, and why diversifying STEM fields is vitally important.

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Eldes explains why research excites her and how asking questions in one area may lead to answers in another.

“I like to research because I really like the process of research in addition to the outcome of it, and that includes when the outcome is not something I expected or like. I like the act of asking questions and being part of a team that asks questions together,” she says.

Eldes says that although she is an economics major, her research is in political science due to her interest in political economics. Much of her work thus far has been data collection through coding, utilizing modeling techniques from economics, and applying them to questions in political science.

“There is a small group of professors in the political science department who formed the Political Accountability Lab. That has been a big part of my research here, asking questions about institutions like U-M or government institutions and researching those,” Eldes says.

She adds that her experiences being born and living abroad and seeing other financial situations and cultures has shaped her intellectual questions, specifically where government and finance intersect.

“I want to contribute research that helps us understand the world better in terms of how economics and politics are interdependent and related. And through asking those questions, I hope that the impact I have is on policy, helping lawmakers and people who make legislation become better informed about how welfare programs in general affect civilians and how that interaction should play out,” she says.

“As a researcher, I want to contribute research to my field that really makes a difference.”

Eldes also shares her thoughts on why the diversification of STEM fields, particularly through more women and girls participating, is so important.

“When we have women and girls involved in STEM, involved in any industry where they are underrepresented, there is not just a technical progress where we are having intellectual ideas being diversified, but also there is a diversity being added to the background and environment there,” Eldes says.


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