Lumity Board Member Mia Boom-Ibes on the Connection Between STEM and Helping Others
For those who know Lumity board member Mia Boom-Ibes, her dedication to transforming kids’ lives through STEM is no surprise. Mia is Allstate’s Vice President of Information Security Strategy, Innovation, and Analytics. Helping others is at the core of who Mia is and what she does. As Mia says, “It’s why I’m here.”
As a first-generation American on her father’s side, Mia learned the importance of making a difference early on. “My dad grew up in Nazi-occupied Holland. During that time, his family sheltered a Jewish boy from their neighborhood. Their courage has always inspired me and served as a guide for the choices I make.”
Mia’s connection between helping others and a STEM career didn’t occur immediately. After graduating college, Mia took a job as a waitress and had a child soon after. Weathering a few rocky years, Mia started as a project manager at Discover Financial Services, supporting the VP of Technology Operations. As Mia describes her first STEM-related position, “I initially thought I would be working with people instead of computers, but I realized that I was really good at overseeing and closing work out. I learned that you can always learn the technical components of your job, as long as you are motivated to learn.”
From there, Mia quickly advanced into an analyst position in Information Security—and found her calling. “Information security is just a natural fit for me. My role is protecting our customers, my company, and its leaders. It’s about protecting people’s data, and it exactly aligns to what I like to do and my commitment to helping people,” Mia explains.
Mia is also quick to point out the varied ways the STEM fields positively impact people’s lives beyond information security. One of her favorite examples comes from the innovative design work led by Lumity students.
“At a recent Lumity STEM Fair, a group of students developed an idea of a tracking bracelet to prevent sex trafficking. They all had friends who were victims, and they were trying to solve this problem that was very real to them,” Mia shares. “It’s so impressive how these teens were surrounded by this real problem and could get past any fear they might have to solve the problem and protect others.”
Mia continues, “We don’t realize how much we can learn from kids. Those of us in the STEM fields need to create opportunities to learn from them—and then help them see what is possible for their future in STEM.”