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Women in STEM Day presentations provide insight on STEM careers


For the first time ever, a new event was added to North’s list of culture days and events, providing students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) an opportunity to learn from the experiences of female speakers and panelists Friday, Nov. 16.
The event, Women in STEM Day, was organized by various STEM clubs at North, including the Science Team, the coding clubs, and Ligerbots. Two planned blocks with speakers Jocelyn Scheirer and Oneeka Williams were canceled due to the two-hour delay.
“I think it’s really important to know that everyone has options. Being able to see people to look up to, and have experiences to draw from, is important,” said senior Jane Alandydy, an organizer of the event, about the importance of Women in STEM day.
Throughout the day, guest speakers spoke about their passions in STEM.
At a-block’s presentation, computer scientist Noa Rensing spoke about what her job meant to her. She said her job is to “help the future.”
During e-block, associate professor Luisa Chiesa form Tufts University explained how she became interested in STEM. She compared the process to a salad, saying math was the base of her “salad,” which eventually led her to mechanical engineering.
During b-block, founder and CEO of Livewire Angela Pitter discussed her transition from engineer to entrepreneur and the hardships that came with it. “You have to be resilient,” she said. “I had to learn how to focus. Sometimes the smartest engineers can get stumped.”
In addition to talking about her journey as an engineer, Pitter said, “No matter what job you have in life, your success will be measured by how well you communicate.”
Many speakers also gave students advice about succeeding in fields of STEM.
In c-block, Panelist Melanie Chen, a student at Tufts University, said that failure helped her grow in college. “Failure can teach you how to ask for help, and use the resources around you.”
At a-block’s presentation, panelist Carmen Pancerella, a computer scientist, said that getting her Ph.D. was “a personal struggle.” She added, “You really have to dig deep and know what you want.”
Additionally, speakers discussed difficulties they faced in STEM.
In a-block, Bridget Ray-Canada, a global product manager at Cabot Corporation, spoke about sexism and racism at her work. “At meetings, there are comments that aren’t made about me, but there have been comments made about other races where I have had to step up and defend them.”
During c-block, panelist Emma Berger, a high school chemistry teacher at Phillips Academy spoke about the failure in research. “When you do research, you are inevitably going to fail sometimes. It takes so much longer than you realize and you have to persist.”

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