A STEM major’s advice: Yes, you really can do this!

Lydie Rwamakuba

Don’t be afraid of STEM.

You don’t need to dream in equations to be successful, or start coding in pre-school to major in science, technology, engineering or math, advises Lydie Rwamakuba, a Computer Science major.

“I always say I feel that anyone can do it. You have to put all your effort and energy and focus into really wanting it,” she said.

Lydie proves this principle through her own experience. She started out as a Liberal Arts major, ultimately interested in both business and international relations. Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lydie and her family moved to the Southern Tier 17 years ago; she went on to graduate Seton Catholic Central High School.

While at SUNY Broome, however, Rwamakuba began to consider her career options and noticed the importance of technology in today’s world. She spoke to her father, who suggested looking into computer science.

“In this day and age you need more than one skill to be on top,” Rwamakuba reflected. “I wanted to give myself an edge in the work field.”

When she started at SUNY Broome, she didn’t know much about computers in general. Now, she’s coding in C++, working in Visual Basic and more. Her focus has settled on software, user interfaces, graphics and web development – fields she couldn’t have imagined at the start of her college career.

Lydie Rwamakuba

When she first transferred into the program, she realized that she was one of only a handful of women in the program, but that has never held her back.

“Once you start looking, you realize that everyone struggles the same way,” said Rwamakuba, who is a campus ambassador for students pursuing fields considered non-traditional for their gender.

She’s grateful to SUNY Broome, which gave her the opportunity to explore her career options, all for a reasonable cost. Professors are accessible, and more than willing to answer questions and concerns.

They’re here to help, Lydie emphasizes – which is one of the reasons you shouldn’t be afraid to pursue a STEM field. You really can do this.

“There are people here to help you learn,” she said. “I want to encourage people to apply to a STEM field, and apply themselves and challenge themselves, so they’re ready for the field.”