The Importance of Self-Awareness

Whether you are going through a crazy midterm season or in the midst of recruiting for your next job, it can be easy to feel lost in the midst of it all.  With that being said, if I have l taken away anything from my freshman year of college, it would be the importance of self-awareness.

The term self-awareness can be interpreted differently by every individual, but one of the most important things about self-awareness is your personal mindset. Your personal mindset affects your confidence, your passion, and your ability to pursue your personal goals. In a competitive environment like Berkeley, it can be hard to avoid comparing yourself to the people around you. In fact, we often let other people’s interests become our own, and in doing so, we question our own worth. Today I am here to tell you how special it is to create your own path and appreciate all the work that has led you to this point in your life.

One of the best things you can do for yourself, during any challenging time, is take a step back and look at how far you have come. Every person has gone through their own share of personal struggles and obstacles to get to where they are today: acknowledging the hard work that you’ve put in helps us value ourselves a little more. The next piece of advice I would give is to set two or three personal goals for yourself. What are YOU interested in? What makes YOU happy? These questions often stop getting addressed when we’re juggling all that is going on in our day-to-day lives. Lastly, prioritize yourself. Whether this entails planning out a schedule to meet your weekly deadlines, or taking thirty minutes out of every day for your personal wellness, don’t confuse other people’s expectations as your own obligations.

It is easier said than done to follow your heart and execute the cliche “ everyone has a different path in life”. However, the more you become aware of yourself and your limitless potential, the more you realize how attainable the line is to live up to!

By: Sarah Ding


The Power of Networking

Sometimes, the most important connections result from seemingly small initiatives to start simple conversations.

In a business setting, your network and the connections you make are everything. Someone you met at a recent networking event may introduce you to your dream job; a coworker may prove to be a true friend during a time of need. Securing a relationship with your boss can lead to an early promotion, and maintaining contact with old college friends may open doors to new industries and careers.

Especially as a freshman who is now finally getting her bearings at a university as large as UC Berkeley, I have learned so much about the importance of forming and maintaining connections with people who may potentially have a big impact on my life in the future. I have learned to reach out to professionals by cold-emailing, arranging coffee chats, or connecting on LinkedIn, and it has not only furthered my own professional development but also made me proud of myself for taking initiative and deciding what is important for me.

I never imagined that meeting or conversing with individuals of various academic backgrounds and experiences would allow me to learn so much about myself. Allocating time in my day to talk with fellow peers about life has cultivated into organic relationships and a better understanding of what I would like to do after college. The sky's the limit, especially when you create connections and surround yourself with diverse, inspirational people.

Some takeaways: take initiative to expand your professional and personal worldview. Learn as much as you can and invest in developing lasting relationships with peers and coworkers. Send a quick text to a fellow friend who has an interesting internship or reach out to a professional whose work you find inspiring. It's that easy.


Pink for Girls, Blue for Boys: Who Says?

By McKenna Hathaway

Who is this?

teddy roosevelt-child pink dress.jpg
birthday betty white.jpeg

A.    A Young Betty White                      

ted roosevelt w: hat.jpg

B.    Teddy Roosevelt (sporting a potential Trump wig?) 


C.    Don’t try to trick me, this is your grandma


D.    Anne Hathaway

If you picked B: Teddy Roosevelt you are right, congratulations! This photo gives two important clues relating to gender and marketing norms. You may have already noticed one right away; the future President of the United States is wearing what appears to be a dress (The Atlantic). However, the second may not be so clear. Teddy Roosevelt is sporting what was most likely a pink dress (The Smithsonian).

Today, practically every children’s item, from clothes to wall paint, is divided strictly according to gender: pink for girls and blue for boys, no questions asked. However, this gendered social construct was not always true. During the early 1900s, people assumed that pink was the natural masculine color: strong and bold. Blue, it was spouted, fit the characterization of young girls and women better: soft and gentle. Yet, during the 1940s, this color norm was completely reversed for not much of a reason that can be historically traced (The New York Times). Gender norms are based upon arbitrary assumptions, which can be seen in the lack of explanation for the switching of colors associated with genders during this time period.

It is easy to take gender stereotypes as facts and assume they have always been that way. Thus, remember to be cognizant and aware of the gender norms and social constructs you follow on an everyday basis that have become normalized! This may seem to be a small and insignificant example, but it stands as a reminder for all other gender stereotypes that still remain in the corporate world and are normalized and internalized as facts. These stereotypes surround pressing issues within the workforce, regarding leadership positions, maternity leave, and even more nuanced issues such as women being categorized as “emotional” or “bossy”. It is important for us, the women of BWIB, as change-makers to have the constant courage to challenge these stereotypes - because more often than not, when we scratch the surface of these everyday norms, we find that they are nothing more than mere social constructs based on made-up, sexist tradition. So, go on out there and buy yourself a new blue, pink, red, purple, yellow, or rainbow dress! Teddy would want you to!



Maglaty , Jeanne. “When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?”, Smithsonian Institution, 7 Apr. 2011,

Fromson, Daniel. “FDR Grew Up in a Dress: It Wasn't Always Blue for Boys and Pink for Girls.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 14 Apr. 2011,

“Pink and Blue.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Apr. 2011,


Edited by Erinn Wong


Power Poses: Making the Most of Your Physical Presence

By Sarah Stukan

This semester, I am enrolled in an undergraduate business administration course at Berkeley-Haas taught by Professor Bill Fanning that is titled “Consumer Behavior.” The class covers an expansive range of topics ranging from learning, memory, and decision making to personality, attitudes, and culture. Recently, we discussed the importance of projecting warmth and competence in high stakes settings to attain success.

So, how can we develop these qualities for our next job interview or project presentation?

One strategy (as you have probably gathered from the title) is power posing!

An expert that is often referenced for knowledge on this topic is social psychologist Amy Cuddy. She has an extensive TED talk about the in’s and out’s of power posing and the science behind them: 


Here’s my list of takeaways from Amy’s speech and other studies on the topic:

  • High power postures are expansive, tall, and stretched out whereas in powerless postures an individual makes themself closed up, wrapped up, and small.

  • Our hormone profile actually changes when we adopt a high power pose: we experience boosted testosterone and lower cortisol levels.

  • Tiny changes people make can lead to a dramatic outcomes: individuals in studies who posed for just two minutes were more likely to enact a trait associated with dominant individuals and reported feeling more powerful.

  • A natural mechanism called “mirroring” ensures that people who observe an empowered individual are more likely to reciprocate that feeling and initiate a social interaction.

  • In total, standing in a posture of confidence — even when we don't feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence and might have an impact on our chances for success.

Take a look at this essential list of power poses and be sure to try one out before your next high pressured circumstance. (My personal favorite is the “Wonder Woman.”) You might find that using a bit of your preparation time to strike an unusual posture may make all the difference in the outcome!


Eleanor Roosevelt: Think Outside “The Oval” (Office)

By McKenna Hathaway

eleanor-roosevelt white house-2.jpg

There is a short list of things we know about the future. The future is inevitable. The future is malleable. The future is dictated by decisions made today. Then there is the list of things we hope about the future. The future is peaceful. The future is tolerant. The future is female. It’s a slogan that has recently picked up traction in the feminist movement and has been plastered on t-shirts, laptop stickers, and even poster boards. But how do we know this to be true? In short: we don’t. However, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” and if there is someone who proved that to be true, it is she.

Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the Office of the First Lady from a passive to active and influential position. One of her dreams for the future was for it to be female, and she took action to ensure just that. Her ingenuity and courage is best illustrated in her all female press corps. On only the second day of her husband’s presidency, March 6, 1933, she held a press conference in the Red Room of the White House. However, she founded it upon an important caveat: the reporters sent by news agencies must be women.  She did this to force the hand of press agencies to hire women reporters, which they would have not have done without it being a requirement. This in turn provided the women reporters with job security, income, and access to news and professional status, all luxuries hard to come by for a woman in the early thirties.

As the weekly press conferences went on, the scope of topics widened to include political developments and inside information on the headlines of the time period from the New Deal to Prohibition. Moreover, Eleanor used this platform to champion other progressive movements such as low-cost housing, minimum wage, and equal pay for equal work. This gave women access to crucial new stories that often led to professional success. One example of this is Emma Bugbee, who was hired as a temporary reporter for the first lady. As the all-women press conferences continued, the company was in essence forced to hire her full-time and her stories often made the front page!

We have all heard the cliche, “Think outside the box,” about a million times from parents, teachers, and inspirational leaders. However, what does that mean for our lives, as we are not First Ladies, just mere Cal gals? The problem lies in this type of thinking. Just as Eleanor transformed her role as First Lady into an unrecognizable figure that citizens did not expect to see, we must do so with our lives. She thought, dreamed, and acted beyond the constraints of the traditions of “the Oval” Office to make an impact on the future. If we want to make the future female, we must stop asking ourselves to think outside of “the box,’ and rather ask ourselves how we can overcome the circumstances that are limiting us in life. The shape in our lives may not appear to be the traditional “box,” or even the “oval” Eleanor faced in her lifetime. However, just as Eleanor thought outside of “the oval” that characterized her life, we too must think about what aspect of our lives that confines us, think outside of it, and ultimately use it to our benefit.


Edited by Erinn Wong

Women in VR

     Today is International Women’s Day, so it only seems fair to pause and recognize how vital women have been to the emergence and progression of virtual reality. The sheer number of females, globally, who have made a tangible impact on the field, is astounding. At the 2017 “Women in Tech” panel in Finland, it was even argued by attendees that women have greater involvement in virtual reality over other STEM fields due to the fact that it is a more versatile space, and less male-dominated, as it is so new (1). Regardless of the reason, there are some incredible women who deserve to be honored for their profound influence on VR.

Nonny de la Peña

Nonny de la Peña

One such woman is Nonny de la Peña, better known as “the Godmother of Virtual Reality”. De la Peña practically pioneered the intersection of VR and immersive journalism, founding the immersive virtual, augmented, and mixed reality company, the Emblematic Group. Some of her work includes, the film “Hunger in L.A”, which was premiered at Sundance, and shows a homeless man collapsing while waiting in line at an LA food bank (2). By using VR as a tool to truly get people to empathize with societal issues, she has been able to change the meaning of the field as a whole (3). Additionally, de la Peña has seen VR shift right before her eyes from her extensive experience with ancient-looking VR headsets back in the day to her company’s present day use of photogrammetry – not to mention, Oculus Rift founder, Palmer Lucky, once interned for her (4).

Jayisha Patel

Jayisha Patel

Similar to Nonny de la Peña is Jayisha Patel, a filmmaker who made a short based on the life of an Indian human-trafficking survivor, entitled “Notes to My Father”. Through her work, Patel has not only been able to give users a visceral perspective of the objectification and vulnerability of trafficking victims, but her film also integrates the female voice into VR content, a rare feat in a field where a good amount of the content is targeted towards male-users (5). Gio Minaya is yet another female trailblazer in virtual reality, serving as VF supervisor at a leading digital studio in the US called ReelFX. Minaya, who has 20 years of experience in animation production, has said that one of her goals with the development of VR content is to make it a less isolated activity, and bring more people together via virtual reality (6). As a revolutionary face in the field, Minaya additionally states on being a woman, “I don’t look at my gender and think it holds me back... Women and men should be treated equally but in most cultures that is not the case and this is not confined to the tech industry. It is in most industries” (7).

Beth Marcus, Carolina Cruz-Niera, Jannick Rolland, and Char Davies are just a few more names that are apart of the broad list of distinguished women who have affected the VR realm (8). As the female presence in virtual reality and STEM grows, we get more perspective and minds to strengthen the field. Be sure to use today (and honestly everyday) as an excuse to celebrate a woman in your life and all of her accomplishments!

  1. Kirschbaum, Judith. “Virtual Reality Is the Place to Be for Women in Tech 2017.” Medium, The Shortcut Talks, 11 Oct. 2017
  2. Knoepp, Lilly. “Forget Oculus Rift, Meet The Godmother Of VR.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Apr. 2017
  3. Helmore, Edward. “'Godmother of VR' Sees Journalism as the Future of Virtual Reality.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 Mar. 2015
  4. Knoepp, Lilly. “Forget Oculus Rift, Meet The Godmother Of VR.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Apr. 2017
  5. Faramarzi, Sabrina. “How Women Are Gaining Ground in Virtual Reality.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Aug. 2017
  6. Coleman, Lauren deLisa. “How This Woman Is Changing The Face of Virtual Reality.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 June 2017
  7. Ibid.
  8. Morie, Jacki. “Why Yes, Virginia, There Have Always Been Women in VR.” VRScout, 24 July 2015


Written by Sonal Kapoor