By Anika Lalmansingh.
On October 15th, the first session and protégé orientation of the MD Mentor-Protégé program was held in the William E. Hanna, Jr. Innovation Center in Rockville, MD. Looking out at a room full of protégés, mentors, parents, and WIT representatives Maryland Program Chair Carmen Radelat began the evening with an informative overview of the history and important milestones of the GIT program.
Robin McDougal, GIT Chair, followed with an interactive talk entitled: STEM/STEAM: The New Currency. Some of the talk take-away messages, for the protégés, included:
- The seven core beliefs: Passion, self-efficacy, innovation, collaboration, empowerment, critical reflection, and leadership comprise the core beliefs that will form the basis for each mentor-protégé session and, if adopted and regularly practiced by the protégés, will lead to future success in their personal and professional lives.
- The PMI technique: PMI is a method that encourages critical reflection on a topic by focusing and recording thoughts on its pluses, minuses, and interesting aspects. By using this technique during each session, the protégés will be able to generate insightful questions and actively lead discussion with their mentors.
- STEM vs. STEAM: There is a growing awareness that art & design are integral parts of science, technology, engineering, and math (e.g. 3D Printed Dress on the Catwalk at Paris Fashion Week ) and GIT is excited to be at the forefront of incorporating these elements into each session.
- Networking: Since networking is a skill that GIT is committed to developing in the protégés, this first session included an opportunity for the protégés and mentors to participate in a lively exercise in which they introduced themselves (“Hello! My name is____”) to each other and practiced a strong handshake that included “three pumps.”
Finally, before the protégés broke out into their mentoring groups, they watched Women Pursuing Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math chosen to spur conversation about careers in STEM within their mentoring groups.
A parent orientation was led by WIT President Phyllis Kolmus, Robin McDougal, and WIT Education Foundation member and mentor Marian McKee. The discussion included an opportunity for the parents to introduce themselves, as well as, information on the ways in which parents can help their daughters get the most out of the program and how to encourage their interest in STEM/STEAM.
The evening was both energizing and informative and those of us at GIT and WIT would like to thank the protégés for taking control of their future, the parents for supporting their girls, and the mentors for volunteering their time and knowledge. We are excited for a new year and look forward to seeing everyone next month!