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Jaelin H.Jaelin H.

Meet Jaelin H. She's a high school student with a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). She dreams of creating positive change through technology. A math whiz by nature, Jaelin already has Advanced Placement calculus under her belt and loves using creativity to solve problems.

Demanding schoolwork isn't all that's on Jaelin's plate. As a ballet dancer in a pre-professional company, Jaelin juggles rehearsals with studying and spending time with family and friends. How does she do it all? Read her interview to learn how she balances dance and academics, her favorite ways to de-stress, and her tips for finding the confidence to follow her interests.

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How old are you?

I am 16 years old.

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At school, what are your favorite subjects?

So far, my favorite subjects have been math, science, psychology, and computer science.

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What sparked your interest in STEM?

I've always had a natural ability in these subjects, and since my dad is a computer engineer, he taught me some cool things about technology. Once I discovered this interest, I started going to more STEM summer camps and workshops, which made me like it even more.

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What excites you about STEM?

I like how technology is always changing, and there is always something new to learn or create. The STEM fields ultimately have the power to change the world in positive ways. Math and science mixed with creativity can have a huge impact on different parts of life, and that's pretty exciting!

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What's your dream job, and why?

I would like to become a software developer. In this job, I would design, create, and maintain computer systems and applications. Software developers are the people who write code and programs to ensure your favorite phone apps and computer games run smoothly. I like this job because it involves using creativity to solve problems. An added bonus is that the end goal of the job is to ultimately make someone's life easier or better in some way.

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Aside from school, ballet dancing keeps you busy. How long have you been dancing, and how does it make you feel?

I have been dancing for about 13 years. I've always loved music, so when I dance it feels like the physical form of music. Sometimes I feel superhuman with how I move my body through dance: Leaping through the air feels like flying. Plus, performing with my friends is a blast. We work really hard and have long rehearsals, so dancing onstage is very rewarding and makes me feel accomplished.

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How do you balance schoolwork, dancing, family and friends, and other commitments?

With so much going on in my day-to-day life, it's easy to forget things here and there, lose track of time, or even get the days mixed up in my head. What works best for me is writing things down whenever I can and using the calendar, notes, and reminder apps on my phone. I also use a planner because it helps me keep track of important dates throughout the month, including tests and project due dates, dance dress rehearsals and performances, club meetings, and even breaks from school. This helps keep my time balanced so that I can also spend time with friends and family.

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Do you have tips for dealing with stress during your busiest weeks?

It's important to make sure the little voice in your head is lifting you up instead of bringing you down. I try to tell myself that I may not be able to do everything perfectly, and that's OK. Also, it is great to find time to de-stress and give your brain a break. This doesn't have to mean anything fancy. For me, this means getting a bowl of ice cream, watching my favorite shows and movies, listening to music, or even just taking a nap. Taking these breaks helps manage stress so that I don't feel too overwhelmed.

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What advice do you have for other girls about pursuing different interests?

Try not to worry about what the people around you are doing or what people think is "cool" or not. If you are truly interested in something, learn as much as you can about it. Plus, you will find people along the way who are interested in the same things as you. Don't let other people's opinions stop you from pursuing something you like, especially if those opinions are things like, "that is for boys" or "you are too girly for that." If you are interested in something, you are more than able to succeed at it!

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What motivates you to follow your passions?

Happiness with myself and my life is what motivates me to follow my passions. I hope to look back at the past, or even the present, and be confident that I have achieved what I wanted to. Life is too short to live by others' expectations. Find what truly makes you happy and go for it.

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Is there anything else you'd like to share?

It has taken lots of time and practice to work toward my goals. Nothing comes easily or immediately, and I am always working on improving. Life is a work in progress, so don't give up! If you keep your goals, hopes, and dreams in mind, you're on the right track.

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Learn more about careers in STEM. Not sure what you're passionate about? Use this worksheet to get in touch with your interests and talents.

Content last reviewed May 04, 2018
Page last updated May 11, 2018

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.