Woman in Tech of the Week (11/1/17)
Deborah Berebichez, Chief Data Scientist, Metis
To see Deborah Berebichez, Ph.D. passionately address a room of tech industry leaders, you may be surprised to learn there was a time in her life when the scientist, educator and first Mexican woman to earn her Ph.D. in physics at Stanford University feared she may never have the opportunity to pursue her dream of working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
Berebichez, chief data scientist at Kaplan Inc. (DBA Metis), tells a moving story about breaking down in tears to a fellow student as they walked through Harvard Square, desperate for the chance to study physics. Her dream flew in the face of gender misconceptions, cultural expectations, academic prejudices and her own family’s wishes. “I was told from a very young age that physics was for geniuses and that I had better pick a more feminine path. … When I confessed to my mom in high school that I loved physics and math, she said, ‘Don’t tell the boys, because you’ll intimidate them, and you may not be able to get married,’” Berebichez said.
Berebichez recently spoke with Rebecca Knight (@knightrm) and Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the recent Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event in Orlando, Florida.
The biases Berebichez encountered throughout her professional journey failed to deter her. In fact, the overt nature of the biases only served to embolden Berebichez and made her opposition far easier to pinpoint — and fight. This experience inspired her life’s mission: to help create academic and professional opportunities for marginalized groups in STEM.
“Think deeply, be bold, and help others,” she urged of her audience during her keynote address at the Grace Hopper Celebration.
This week, theCUBE spotlights Deborah Berebichez in our Women in Tech feature.