This spring, Mount St. Mary’s hosted its inaugural STEM Expo, enabling hundreds of students to visit with speakers and recruiters from leading Southern California institutions in a variety of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The event, “Exploring your Future: Endless Possibilities in STEM,” was created to further prepare students to succeed in professional STEM careers. After the Expo, student presenters shared their own research during a Senior Seminar Symposium hosted by the Mount’s Biology Department.
“The entire Mount St. Mary’s community was invited to the Expo,” says Sandy Chavez, STEM Center advisor at the College. “We were excited to meet and greet students from different majors, and welcome a wide array of presenters who provided our students with in-depth, first-hand knowledge of their respective career paths.”
Katherine Melgar ’17 is a first-year biology major at Mount St. Mary’s. She attended the STEM Expo and found herself learning about medical research from representatives of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
“What really caught my attention were their explanations about what exactly they did in terms of research,” Melgar says. “Having that information exposed me to a path that I had not fully considered, but I’m now eager to look into research opportunities for myself. The Expo really helped to widen my horizons in exposing me to even more diverse careers in the science field.”
Among the many institutions that participated in the STEM Expo were: City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences; the Keck School of Medicine at USC; the American Red Cross; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the California Science Center; and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.
“What made this all so valuable was having the opportunity to get so much information in one place,” says Analiese Yu ’14, a biology major. “I felt I could actually take the time to ask my questions without feeling rushed or ignored. The representatives were so willing to share their experiences.”
The Mount’s Title III STEM Program sponsored the Expo as part of its ongoing mission to support and academically prepare women who are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math. In 2011, Mount St. Mary’s won a five-year Title III STEM federal grant to enhance its curricula and its support of female students studying science, technology, engineering and math.