Cultivating a Passion for STEM was the topic of the Second Mentor-Protégé Maryland Session

By Anika Lalmansingh.

What is your Passion? What skills & talents can you pair with STEM/STEAM? Which friends do you have that share your passion? These were some of the questions posed to the protégés during the second session of the Mentor-Protégé program, on November 19.

Judy Costello, Dr. Anitza San Miguel, Dr. Gail Wasserman, and Irene Lane
Judy Costello, Dr. Anitza San Miguel, Dr. Gail Wasserman, and Irene Lane

“Passion,” Maryland Program Chair Carmen Radelat told the protégés, is “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something” and is a crucial first step to discovering what career will fulfil you. Carmen’s discussion also included inspiring videos of individuals who have harnessed their passions for interests that ranged from cartooning to clean water to coding.

Continuing on the theme of passion, Irene Lane, Founder of Greenloans and GIT Steering Committee Member, moderated a panel of two successful female scientists who understand the importance of finding passion in their STEM field of choice. Dr. Gail Wasserman, Senior Vice President of Biopharmaceutical Development at MedImmune and Dr. Anitza San Miguel, Associate Dean for the Science and Applied Technologies Division at Northern Virginia Community College discussed their career paths that were fueled by their individual passions. Although their paths to success were very different, both were able to find the drive they needed to stay focused and committed to their goals because of the passion they felt for their career choices.

Protégés taking a break
Protégés taking a break

The final question posed to the panelists asked them how the protégés can be proactive in gaining the experience they need to help them find their passions. Both were in agreement that a good mentor who will take the time to guide them along their career path is very important for future success in a STEM field. In addition, participating in an internship or volunteering in a laboratory, networking, and taking advantage of any opportunity that comes along will yield great benefits.

MD Session2 3_2013Nov19
Time for a little fun!

Sparked by the insightful stories of the panelist and armed with notes recorded on their PMI (plus, minus, interesting) charts, the protégés separated into smaller groups and discussed their passions on a more intimate level with their mentors. Discussions were lively, bouncing from topic to topic, but always coming back to the passions of the protégés and their exploration of their future in a STEM career. Both Drs. Wasserman and San Miguel were kind enough to stay and participate in the group discussions.

GIT would like to thank Deputy Director of Bio Maryland Judy Costello, who hosts the MD sessions, for dropping in and congratulating the mentors and protégés on their accomplishments.

Announcement: There will be a Marine and Maritime career fair in Annapolis, MD on Saturday, February 22, 2014.

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