Inaugural Science-Related Career Conference, Hosted by the STEM Resource Center, a Resounding Success
On February 4, the STEM Resource Center (SRC) at St. Francis College (SFC) hosted its first annual “What Can You Be with Your Science Degree?” conference. The goal of the daylong event was to introduce first- and second-year college students to various science-related career pathways as well as the necessary skills and resources to be successful in such careers.
Students interested in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, research and the health sciences were encouraged to attend, and nearly 70, mostly from St. Francis College, did. A special invitation was extended to students from Bronx Community College (BCC), with which SFC recently signed an articulation agreement, and to those from La Salle Academy high school in Manhattan.
The conference opened with a keynote address delivered by SFC alumna Dr. Raquel Castellanos ’03, the assistant director of scientific programs at the American Association for Cancer Research. A series of breakout sessions, all focusing on career paths, followed. Attendees had the option to explore careers as a medical doctor or physician assistant, the different levels of nursing (RN, NP) and careers in research (master’s and Ph.D. programs). There also was a session on how to apply to dental school.
Breakout sessions in the afternoon focused on skill strengthening and building, such as how to stitch a wound, how to obtain strong letters of recommendation and how to finance your education. Special thanks to all of the conference’s partners and presenters, which included Complete Health Ventures, St. George’s University School of Medicine, Científico Latino, Dr. Castellanos and the SFC Department of Nursing and Center for Career Exploration.
A networking event for St. Francis College students with members of the SFC science faculty and alumni pursuing careers in science closed out the day, while students from BCC and La Salle Academy attended an admissions information session and toured the College’s brand-new campus.
“The feedback we received on the conference was overwhelmingly positive, with respondents giving us a 4.69 overall rating, out of 5, in a post-event survey,” noted Katrina Liera, Executive Director of Opportunity Programs. One SFC student commented: “Having a face-to-face conversation with one of the professionals and hearing all the different paths taken was very interesting. It gave me a lot to think about and inspired me to keep pushing for what I am trying to do.” Another, from BCC, wrote: “My favorite part was looking at the labs and having doctors give interesting presentations. I adored everything.”
“We hope to make ‘What Can You Be with Your Science Degree?’ one of our signature events moving forward,” said Noemi Rivera, the STEM Resource Center’s director. The SRC provides focused support to undergraduate students who identify as Hispanic/Latinx or are from low-income households. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), St. Francis College was awarded a U.S. Department of Education HSI-STEM and Articulation grant, which assists the SRC’s mission to support STEM students through academic and professional development as well as career-readiness opportunities.