FRAMINGHAM – MassBay Community College announced the awarding of a $40,000 charitable contribution from Sanofi Genzyme to once again assist in funding MassBay’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Mentor Program for the 2017-2018 academic year.
This is the third consecutive year Sanofi Genzyme has funded this vitally important mentorship program in the STEM Division at MassBay.
This upcoming academic year the STEM Mentor Program will also be funded through a MathWorks Community grant as well as the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education STEM Starter Academy grant.
MassBay’s STEM Mentor Program, since its inception in 2014, has worked closely with Sanofi Genzyme employees to create a program that offers students one-on-one mentoring by industry professionals.
The program seeks to nurture STEM students’ academic and career aspirations by providing supportive mentoring relationships and career-focused events and opportunities. Students from underrepresented groups are and have been actively recruited into the program. More than 30 percent of program participants are low-income, people of color, first in their family to attend college and/or women. The program includes individual meetings between mentors and mentees, group activities, social events and workshops. Potential mentors and mentees receive independent orientation/training sessions that provide an overview of the program, expectations of the mentor/mentee relationships, the roles, responsibilities and benefits of each party and suggested activities to do together. Mentors and mentees complete an enrollment form which serves as a basis upon which the pairs are matched.
“This program has been an invaluable addition to the curricular offerings in our STEM Division,” said MassBay’s Director of the STEM Mentor Program, Valerie Kapilow. “Mentors help our students make the connection between what they are learning in the classroom with the knowledge and skills required in the STEM fields. Mentors help students prepare for job interviews, identify research opportunities, transfer to four-year institutions and connect with other STEM professionals. 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. The program is growing and we are recruiting new STEM professionals who want to give back to the community, make a difference in a student’s academic/professional life and who want to meet some of the next generation of STEM professionals, potential interns or future employees.”
In the fall of 2014, MassBay launched the STEM Mentor Program with 41 students and one company, Sanofi Genzyme, whose employees served as mentors.
By the end of the program in spring 2017, the program had 67 mentors and 80 student mentees paired primarily with professionals from employers including: Sanofi Genzyme, MathWorks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Winchester Analytical Engineering Center and many other regional SETM employers.
The program’s mentees were 36% women, 25% were the first in their family to attend college, and 45% were students of color (10% Asian, 15% Latino/a, 11% African American, 1% Native American or Alaska Native, and 8% other or mixed race).
The mentors in the program also came from diverse backgrounds; 40% women, 30% people of color, and 24% first in their families to attend college.
There is an increased demand for mentors by MassBay students as interest grows in MassBay’s STEM programs and STEM careers in the MetroWest region.
“It has been great to watch the STEM Mentor Program grow since we first started it,” said U.S. Head of Biopharmaceutics Development at Sanofi Rebecca Sendak, in a statement. “Employees within Sanofi and Sanofi Genzyme have really enjoyed engaging with the students and helping to enrich the next generation of scientists preparing for careers in STEM fields. We are very much looking forward to another year of mentoring, and all the additional activities that accompany the program!”
“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 STEM Mentor Program is one of several mentor programs at MassBay designed to benefit the development of all students from different educational and socio-economic backgrounds, foundations, ethnicities and values, and prepare them for a future of career success.
Currently, MassBay has five mentoring programs which include the Boston Scientific Mentoring Program, Multicultural Mentoring Program, 100 Males to College, Walsh Middle School, and the STEM Mentor Program.
MassBay Community College was recently ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for 2-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England and ranked #16 nationally. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded life-long learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.