On Tuesday Nov. 13, the Museum of Science in Cambridge hosted their third annual Women and Girls in STEM Mentoring Evening. The evening was sponsored by the Akamai Foundation, an internet cloud service based in Cambridge and was presented by BNY Mellon, a financial and banking service out of New York City. The event invited women and girls from various universities in the area such as MIT and Northeastern and from all different job circuits from engineering to life sciences.
The event started off with a job fair where various companies such as Facebook, Dell, and Analog Devices spoke to attendees about internship opportunities and what their companies could offer them. After the job fair, the event moved into a panel discussion where women from all parts of STEM spoke about their experiences as women in science and math. The speakers included moderator Kara Miller, an executive director at Innovation Hub; Susan Feindt, a director of advanced process development at Analog Devices; Helen Greiner, a co-founder of IRobot; Claudia Lavin, a pediatrician and co-founder of Easy Care Pediatrics; Sophie Vandebroek, a vice president of emerging technology partnerships at IBM Corporation; and Nancy Zimmerman, a cofounder and managing partner at Bracebridge Capital. Each woman spoke about how they got into a career in STEM and gave advice to the audience of young women about being a woman in STEM. The women on the panel spoke about their inspirations for science and math, stemming from high school chemistry teachers, fictional characters like R2D2, and honoring family members.
After the women on the panel spoke about their paths and what led them to careers in STEM, the panel discussion opened up to the audience where questions could be asked. Questions ranged from how to be a woman leader to if women still face prejudice for being a woman in STEM. The answers the panel gave to questions blended together to form a main points of never giving up on a dream, being aware of adversity as woman in science and math, and learning how to face up to it.
Breakout sessions like “How do I find a mentor, and does it have to be a woman?,” “Negotiating Salary,” “Should I apply to graduate school?,” and “Large Corporations vs. Small Start-Ups” followed after the panel discussion. Each breakout session lasted an hour and had mentors who spoke about their experiences in specific to that session. Much like the panel discussion, girls were encouraged to ask questions to the mentors about the topic in the session. The night ended with a dinner and networking session where mentors and students discussed topics from what a student wanted to do after college to what the mentor’s career was.
The mentoring evening allowed girls from similar majors from different universities to meet one another and make connections to companies located in the Boston area. Women from freshman to senior class levels attended and learned how to engage with mentors and network properly. It allowed science or math majors to make connections and learn about internships available in the Boston area.