An Open Letter to Melissa C. Márquez,
It was February of last year when you approached me about writing #STEMSaturdays. Ever since then, I haven't been able to thank you enough. I remember distinctly holding myself back from emailing you back right away -- my excitement easily gets the best of me and I didn't want to seem too eager.
At that point, my website had been around for a little over a month. I had been let go from one writing job, was getting ready to quit another because of the bad working conditions, and found myself jobless and just trying to see if I could make my website go anywhere. Part of me was excited, part of me was heartbroken. I'm not convinced, at all, that I would have the traction that I have had on this website without your help. You have helped this site gain thousands of views, you have started great conversations on Twitter, and you have supported me through this rollercoaster.
Honestly, the best part is that you and I will be continuing to work together throughout this year -- and hopefully continuing on to the future.
You didn't have to contact me, or put all of the effort that you did into the articles you wrote for this site. My goodness, you had (and still have) so much going on in your professional and personal life. You had an amazing TEDX Talk to write, rehearse, and travel for. That's a much bigger stage for you than anything I've been able to provide since this site, as of January 16th, will only be a year old. An infant. Yet, you still put a ton of effort into your writings for FemSTEM, and it shows. I know everyone who reads your articles can agree with me there. There's so much to them; so much wonderful advice and heartwarming notes of inspiration. A great reminder that if you put your mind to it, you can do it. A reminder that your obstacles are there, but you can overcome them, or at least work around them. A great reminder than your mental health has to be a priority, and that we don't talk about that in academia as much as we ought to.
I've taken your advice for myself, particularly along the lines of networking. It's helped me out tremendously. I have business cards, and brochures, and I've been invited to events in order to network further. Your advice, that you didn't write for me, but for the audience, has been invaluable. I just hope others have taken steps towards your advice, as well. In fact, I'm confident that they have.
You are, and always will be, a huge asset to me and to FemSTEM, as well as the female science community. I plan to continue to support you, as you have done an amazing amount for me. I will never be able to thank you enough.
I still want to try, though.
Thank you for being such a huge part of FemSTEM's identity.
Thank you so much for being so supportive.
Thank you for all the advice.
And thank you for everything else.
-- Mariah Loeber
Founder of FemSTEM.com
And always in debt to you.