Joan Jungbin Lee joined the Electric Girls team in Aug 2018 and stepped into her current Executive Director role during the fall of 2020. Joan started her STEM journey as a rambunctious kid that took random household items apart for fun and continued on to study biomedical engineering and research during high school and college. Joan has worn many hats: managing scholarships and registration for all EG programs, jumpstarting the Family Advisory Board, and learning alongside resilient and bright Electric Girls. Joan is excited to continue growing the Electric Girls community of lifelong learners and supporters.
Glitter Box: What is the realest, most honest piece of advice you have for a person working their way up in your field (or any field)?
Joan: Trust your people. I am an overthinker. I reread emails 5 times and delete at least 3 exclamation points before hitting "send" (and sometimes I hit "cancel" just to proofread it one more time). Courtesy of "imposter syndrome," I am always thinking about how others might see through my "fake it til you make it" and question my place. I am also humbled to have the most generous, thoughtful, innovative, brilliant, and truly resilient people supporting and loving me. So I've made it a habit to regularly ask myself: If I trust and look up to these people who I think are smart, kind badasses, why do I doubt their judgement when it comes to me? Trust your people: friends, family (blood or chosen), elders, mentors.
Glitter Box: What do you think is the most important thing we need to do to achieve a more equitable and just society?
Joan: What a loaded question. I can't come up with a singular eloquent answer because my answer to this question changes frequently (normalize changing your opinion when presented with new information), but critical love will get us a good way there. A genuine love for self and community leads to an honest reckoning with privilege and a critical audit of one's accountability of values vs actions. Always ask yourself and your community: How is my intersectionality lending itself to the oppression of others & how do I do better? How do I hold myself and others accountable? When am I operating out of a scarcity mindset, gatekeeping resources or information?
Glitter Box: What does success look like to you? In your field, what are you working towards or striving for?
Joan: Electric Girls' mission is to increase girls' confidence and capabilities by engaging them through STEM. Success for an Electric Girl* is being in community with other learners, being confident enough to ask questions, build, be wrong, and keep growing because (not despite) of that. Success looks very similar for me: Am I trying hard? Am I always trying new things and growing? Are the people in my life//community able to do and explore what they're interested in? Do they have the necessary resources? Can I share or help them secure those resources?
*We use girl as a gender-expansive term to include cis-girls, trans-girls, non-binary youth, and gender non-conforming youth.