BC hosts a conference about overcoming Double-Imposter Syndrome

Razan Makhlouf, Reporter

Mathematics, Engineering, Science-Achievement (MESA) held its fourth annual STEM and Pre-Health Conference on April 16.

MESA is a source of academic development for thousands of educationally disadvantaged students who want to excel in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) fields.

The conference was designed to allow students from all age groups to work with and learn from professionals in STEM fields as well as pre-health.

Due to COVID-19, the conference took place on zoom instead of being celebrated at the Bakersfield College campus.

The event was about overcoming Double-Imposter Syndrome, with Keynote Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, Distinguished Professor of Medicine UCLA, and speaker panels in STEM and Pre-health careers.

As a distinguished speaker, Bautista talked about diversity, voice, and leadership for social justice. In his presentation, he shed light on double imposter syndrome, which students going through education, face every day in the world.

Imposter syndrome is when you feel like you do not fit “Sometimes some of us run through barriers that make us doubt ourselves,” Bautista said.

Bautista believes that minority groups, especially Latinos, are hit harder by Imposter Syndrome. He explained that even though he was born and raised in America, he was constantly questioned about his identity. “I traveled to Mexico, then it turned out that I was too American to be Mexican,” he said.

“Having been born in Los Angeles, that helped me figure who I was. So now when I am asked ‘who are you?’, I say what I have learned about myself, I am an 8th generation American of Mexican origin,” Bautista said.

The conference was later divided into three-panel sessions. The Pre-Med panel navigated ways into health careers, and ways for students to stand out. The STEM panel discussed how diverse leaders are critical to fostering and accelerating creativity in STEM. The Research panel discussed ways to solve problems, explore issues, and predict trends.

The panels were asked to discuss their opinions and experiences with double imposter syndrome. Dr. Stephen Waller, Dean of Instruction for Sciences and Math at Bakersfield College said, “you should embrace who you are, and be yourself.”

Linda Mohammad, an immigrant from Malaysia said, “When I first came to America, I made it my career goal to get the highest ranking in everything I pursued. It was a constant struggle to feel like I earned what I got even though I knew I was qualified. One needs to embrace imposter syndrome because there is a sense of pride about who you are.”

“What I learned is that I am not alone,” Esteban Camps said.

“Use imposter syndrome as a fuel rather than an obstacle for success,” Jose Antonio Gomez said.