Beauty and Brains Can Go Together

Contributed by Liz Saloka

I have always loved computers, I developed an interest for them at a young age. When I was younger my dad would take apart old computers and show me how they worked. In high school I was a part of the Project Lead the Way Engineering program, I took four years of engineering classes. My teacher, who taught me all four years, Mr. Mason and my classmates really inspired me to go into engineering. I've always been a smart girl but in elementary and middle school I was bullied for how nerdy I was. In high school I tried to tone down my brains and instead focus on beauty; I exchanged my textbooks for beauty how-to videos.

Now that I am in college, I realize that beauty and brains aren't actually separate- they are one in the same. When I received an automated text from the clothing company Wet Seal advertising their Model Search 2015 contest, I immediately posted my picture and gave them my information. Modeling has always been a dream of mine and this summer I decided to jump start a small modeling career, this would be a perfect opportunity for me to do it.

Liz SalokaThrough the efforts of my family and friends I made the top 100 and moved on as a semi-finalist. I was ecstatic and couldn't believe it, there were thousands of gorgeous girls, how did I get so lucky to move on? Round two was much more difficult than round one- this time I wasn't just submitting a picture, I had to create a two minute video explaining why I wanted to be a model for Wet Seal. I was completely clueless as to what to say in my video. I knew I wanted to be a model for some time, but didn't think I could talk about that and myself for an entire two minutes. Then an idea came to me- I could use this opportunity for so much more than just a contest. I have always been passionate about encouraging young women to go into STEM fields. With this video, I might be able to inspire some girls and show them that beauty and brains do go together! I decided to go with this angle for my contest video and immediately took off with it- I absolutely love it. Instead of just talking about myself and modeling for two minutes, I'm actually trying to make a difference. I would love to do well in this contest and partner up with Wet Seal, together we could make a serious impact in the world; Wet Seal has a large voice, they have a great following. If I don't win, I won't be discouraged. I'll continue to work my butt off for this cause and be a personal example to all the women I can reach out to.

I recently signed up to be a FabFem and be a part of the national database of women in STEM fields who are inspiring role models for young women. As a FabFem I hope to inspire young girls to consider careers in computer engineering and other STEM fields.  I have a lot of time ahead of me to work on this cause, and with the help of women everywhere- hopefully change the world.

Liz Saloka is a Junior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County majoring in computer engineering. If you are interested in voting for Liz, watch her video and cast your vote by clicking on the heart icon. Voting period ends July 24, 2015.

August 6, 2015 Update: Liz has been chosen as one of five winners and will travel to California to meet with Wet Seal at their corporate headquarters for a photo shoot. Liz says, "Wet Seal chose STEM! Thank you so much for all of your help to get here, I appreciate it so much!"