The Science of FemininiTee
By: Ixchel Urbano, SDSU Chapter Member
Meet Crystal Groeger, a New York native attending the University of New Haven. Crystal is currently on an accelerated academic track and will be completing her bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science in a 3 year time period! She is looking to pursue a career in Medicolegal Death investigations, where her passion for forensic science will be put to use on a daily basis. Crystal is a very well rounded young woman and her passion for STEM has led her to start her own t-shirt company!
Crystal has been interested in STEM from a very young age. She recalled how she was inspired by her many female teachers who greatly influenced her and helped foster her love of science. As Crystal became more involved in the STEM fields she began to notice that as a woman in STEM, she was often expected to follow certain expectations to be seen as equal to her male peers.
Crystal discussed how in learning about expert witness testimony, in one of her forensic classes, her professor explained that the female students would have to follow a specific dress code to appear credible. This would require the female students to tie their hair back, wear minimal jewelry, and dress in dark colors- essentially dressing less feminine. This is unfortunately a problem found across all science fields, where women are expected to tone down their femininity in order to be seen as equals with their male colleagues. This one experience is one of the reasons Crystal started her STEM focused female t-shirt company, she wants all women to know that they should be able to express themselves in any way they choose!
Crystal also drew motivation to start her company from trips to several big-name chain retail stores. She was disheartened when she saw the large difference between the t-shirt options for males and females. Crystal recalled how the t-shirt selection for boys were STEM focused and discussed their futures; however, the female t-shirt selection had a consistent theme of loving and nurturing messages. This was the turning point in Crystal’s path to starting her company!
Since starting her own company, Crystal has become more aware of the imbalance in the number of male led companies compared to the number of female led companies throughout the country. She has been fortunate enough to speak with many great organizations that are working to represent women in STEM in various ways.
Crystal’s company is currently continuing their work on circulating their brand and reaching women interested in the company and its message. Her company looks to inspire young girls interested in science as well as advocate for women currently working in STEM fields. The main message Crystal wants young women to take away from her company is to not be afraid to chase their dreams and enter male dominated fields!
Crystal’s best piece of advice is to never give up and not be afraid to put yourself and your ideas out there! Crystal Groeger is not only a woman in science she is also a successful business woman. Her ability to make her goals a reality is truly inspiring. The Women in Science Society is proud to have had the opportunity to speak to Crystal, and wish her and her company much success in the future!