Kaylee Zilinger

Northwestern University
Class of 2024

Tackling minority underrepresentation in STEM by ensuring equitable education in diverse communities.

After her family experienced a devastating house fire, Kaylee found solace at school. Encouragement from teachers and her dedication to her classes taught Kaylee how to cope with uncertainty and adversity. A descendent of Mexican and Polish heritage, she developed a love of foreign languages. Thanks to a scholarship award, Kaylee had the opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai leading to her decision to double major in Chinese and Biology.

While interning at a Northwestern research lab for two summers, she noticed a lack of Latino scientists. In response, Kaylee founded the We Matter STEM initiative to start STEM clubs in predominantly low-income and minority communities. She plans to continue this work throughout her life and start her own nonprofit organization. Kaylee says “Nothing makes me happier than seeing my students grow to find the scientists within themselves.” Her passion for STEM is further fueled by the experience of her family and community with healthcare. Kaylee hopes to become a doctor to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities among Latinos.

Leadership:

  • Founder, We Matter STEM Initiative
  • Chapter Leader, Amnesty International
  • Head Mentor, Primos Mentoring Program