As part of this year’s Women in Science summer program, we welcomed thirty budding science professionals to the lab! Many of these young women, in grades 5-7, had expressed an interest in a STEM career (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math). Even those who had yet to consider a life in STEM left with greater enthusiasm for the field!
The young scientists had the chance to participate in a molecular-genetics program, designed especially for them. The program was led by Dr. Jill Zemianek (of Merck). She began with a motivational presentation and an overview of the biomanufacturing industry. Thanks to Dr. Zemianek, many in the group now want to become involved in the future development of cures for devastating illnesses! The students also conducted a DNA extraction experiment, under the guidance and instruction of Danielle Salvadore (of Alkermes) and Shannon Guertin (of AbbVie and also a WPI graduate – class of 2015). These professional, fun-loving instructors kept things interactive and exciting while serving as fabulous female role models to the energetic, engaged young women who attended.
I take my role as a mentor for young women in STEM seriously. As an educator and biotechnology professional, I love to share my excitement about the future of this field with up-and-coming female professionals. Thanks to programs like Women in Science, we are breaking down historic barriers of gender bias within this field. An increase in the involvement of women in science, technology, engineering, and math means greater diversity of thought for future inquiry and innovation. I hope one day that all young women feel comfortable exploring and expressing interest in the fascinating careers that a background in STEM can unlock.
Thank you to all the brilliant young women who spent the day with us at the BETC. It was truly inspiring to see the future of science in our labs!
With love for science,
For more information related to gender in the fields of science and engineering, see recent statistics reported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).