STEM organization: Mental Health & Wellness for Women in STEM

MHWWSTEM prioritizes mental health and wellness for women in STEM.

Photo courtesy of @ou_mhwwstem on Instagram

MHWWSTEM prioritizes mental health and wellness for women in STEM.

With the high number of students on campus studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), there are many ways to get involved outside of the classroom and to focus on personal growth amidst working toward a professional career in these fields. An example of doing this is through joining student organizations. 

Annabel Shaffou is a senior on the pre-med track majoring in biology. In addition to performing both basic science research in a biochemistry laboratory and previously performing clinical research in the Emergency Department at Henry Ford Detroit, Shaffou runs a cupcake business with her mother, volunteers with the Hospice of Michigan, is a trained yoga instructor and an avid painter.

Shaffou finds it very valuable to remain a well-rounded person as a whole and to get to know a community of people with shared experiences. These are a few sources of inspirations behind the student organization Mental Health & Wellness for Women in STEM (MHWWSTEM), which she founded last school year. 

Shaffou was able to answer a few questions to give deeper insight into this organization and what it means to her as well as the Oakland community at large.

“After experiencing the everyday challenges that come with being a young woman pursuing a career as a physician, I was inspired to create a community of support. I was fortunate enough to know some amazing individuals that also felt a gap in this area and we established MHWWSTEM,” Shaffou said.

The mission of the organization is to “create a safe space for those looking to find balance between mental and physical health alongside their career aspirations. MHWWSTEM is meant to be a haven for vulnerability, healing, learning, and personal growth.”

Shaffou is very excited about further growing the organization and anticipates having an eventful year.

“Some things to look forward to are meetings on and off campus. Zoom is a great tool but being able to connect with others in person after a somewhat isolating few years will be refreshing. Furthermore, we know how busy life can get so we are also excited about creating a more active social media page to be more accessible and connect with more people! We currently have an Instagram account (@ou_mhwwstem). Please feel free to contact us through this outlet and to also join through GrizzOrgs,” Shaffou said.

Shaffou also invites anyone to reach out to her about really any topic. “As a senior, I have learned a lot about what it really means to go down this path in STEM and I want to pass along what I’ve learned to anyone that could use some advice. I know how impactful it has been to have these figures in my own life and I am so appreciative for everything they’ve taught me. I would love to be that person for someone else and help others in any way I can, especially through this organization.”

Anyone interested can contact her at [email protected]