April McMillan, BSA’s National Director of STEM Programs, has accomplished a lot in the world of STEM. She’s earned a B.S. in microbiology and Ph.D. in materials science engineering, worked as a biomedical researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and even holds 13 patents.
Additionally, BSA’s STEM Scouts pilot – which teaches science, technology, engineering, and math to girls and boys – has been a continuing success under McMillan’s diligent leadership.
So, what does this renowned scientist point to as the reason for her professional success? In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, McMillan explained, “I credit the opportunities I have had as a leader to a lifetime of unending family support and amazing mentors throughout my career.”
For many women, working in a male-dominated field isn’t always easy, but McMillan says she has her mentors to thank for helping her develop a strong professional identity.
“Interestingly, nearly all of my mentors have been men – they prepared me for the many challenges, and importantly, helped me embrace that I am a scientist – not just a ‘woman in science’,” McMillan said. “Those men… were essential in helping me understand the power of letting the quality of my work speak for itself and to never allow myself to be seen as ‘less than’ simply because I’m a woman.”
Although she’s done extensive work for the STEM Scouts pilot, McMillan’s Scouting experience isn’t limited to the lab. Alongside her daughter, she also enjoys outdoor adventure through the Great Smokey Mountain Council’s Venturing program.
Get more of McMillan’s take on Scouting, STEM education, and women in the workplace by reading the full interview from the Huffington Post.
Find out how you can follow your curiosities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math by heading to STEMscouts.org to find a lab near you!