Connecting to STEM

Since 2014, MassBay Community College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Mentor Program has been connecting STEM students and regional employers for one-on-one mentoring relationships. The program provides substantive, skills-based programs and networking opportunities that benefit both mentors and mentees.

The STEM Mentor Program includes meetings between mentors and mentees, as well as group activities, social events and workshops. Some of the suggested activities include job shadowing, reviewing resumes and preparing for interviews, and going over course selections and post-college options.

“Having someone to talk to about what steps to take next in my career and what may be the best way to achieve my goals has been essential,” said MassBay marine biotechnology student Gabriela Faria. “Through my mentor I have had the opportunity to observe her work at Genzyme, one-on-one guidance to understand career paths in the biotechnology field and learn new techniques to practice in greater detail what I have learned in my classes at MassBay. I am so thankful for meeting my mentor and for the support she has provided me.”

The program launched with 41 students and one company partner: Sanofi Genzyme, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Mass. Sanofi Genzyme employees served as mentors. Three years later, by the end of spring 2017, the program had 67 mentors and 80 student mentees.

“The students in our mentor program have earned a higher average GPA and college retention rate than STEM students as a whole at MassBay for the last two years,” said Valerie Kapilow, MassBay’s director of the STEM Mentor Program.

MassBay’s list of company partners has grown to include MathWorks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Winchester Analytical Engineering Center and other regional STEM employers.

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This article is an excerpt from the AACC 21st-Century Center.