Science Professors from the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Division of Naugatuck Valley Community College collaborated to produce the annual Women in Science Seminar on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at Naugatuck Valley Community College.
Six guest speakers including a Yale Ph.D. candidate, President and CEO of My Gene Counsel, a speech pathologist, a Bridge Safety Inspector, a biology educator and Vice President from North America shared their personal experience with 60 students including 17 Waterbury Academy high school students. The guest speakers were passionate about STEM education.
Students who attended commented to Dr. Zheng, Professor of Biology and Coordinator for the Women in Science Committee STEM Division, that they really enjoyed listening to all of the personal stories and gained a lot of new insight into the world of women in science.
Students reported following up with the speakers for individual advising. They were inspired by the speakers, and decided to look into other careers in the sciences before committing to nursing. Throughout the seminar students were advised on how to be successful, not only in the sciences but also in life. They had the opportunity to talk with the women scientists after the seminar.
Students shared experiences of great personal value from meeting the speakers and learning about career opportunities in science; they felt empowered and confident as a result. They left thanking the speakers and producers of the event for their inspiration. Some students even reported that they were inspired to seek out mentors in science.
The guest speakers also had a wonderful experience. Several speakers expressed optimism about the great attendance and the wide diversity of women in STEM who were represented at the seminar. The speakers encouraged students to choose a career in STEM because of its the increasing importance in the future. Some emphasized that with a STEM degree, students would never be jobless and would be well compensated because of the high demand.
In her opening remarks, Professor Rachel Sackett told the students, ”If you don’t give up, you will always have opportunities to succeed and reach your goal.” The speakers were a great example of this advice.