Renee Ellmers Shares the One Piece of Advice That’s Inspired Her Throughout Her Career

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of North Carolina reamed of a career focused on creating opportunities that improved the lives of others while finding immediate solutions to the problems they face. This dream led to her successful pursuit of a career in nursing.

Little did she know, several years later, she would be serving in the People’s House — still driven by those very same passions. The words that carried her from R.N. to U.S. Representative sit on her desk today?

“It can be done.”

In her most recent op-ed published in TIME’s Motto, Ellmers reminds women “to pursue the opportunities or pathways they’re interested in — even if they’re considered unconventional… It takes courage to make history, but it can be done.”

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers

“When I was a student, I made the choice to pursue the health and sciences field. I am one of too-few women who opted to pursue this line of work, but I am grateful each and every day for the skills that nursing school taught me.

The STEM fields are an area in which women and minorities are underrepresented — much like in Congress. While girls continue to excel in these subject areas, their numbers in the work force are not representative of this. There are still large disparities with women’s representation in certain science and engineering occupations. For example, women make up just 13% of working engineers and 25% of computer and mathematical scientists. Similarly, women make up just 19% of Congress.

We need these numbers to change.

When women are underrepresented in any industry or course of study, we stifle their opportunities and limit our nation’s potential.

As women, we are half our country’s population, and as such, our perspective and input should play a critical role when it comes to shaping discussion — whether it’s within the engineering field, the computing industry or Congress.

I want to encourage every woman and every girl to pursue the opportunities or pathways they’re interested in — even if they’re considered unconventional. From someone who has been there and is still there, I say: It takes courage to make history, but it can be done.”

Click here to read her full op-ed.

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