MassBay Announces Sanofi Genzyme to Fund the STEM Mentor Program for the 2018-2019 Academic Year
WELLESLEY HILLS, MA (July 2018) – MassBay Community College is pleased to announce the awarding of a $43,000 charitable contribution from Sanofi Genzyme to once again assist in funding MassBay’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Mentor Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. This is the fourth 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 $3,000 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% 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 outcomes for the students in the program are quite impressive. Mentees have a retention rate that is more than 20% higher than our other STEM students and the average GPA for the mentees is significantly higher than it is for STEM students as a whole. The program is growing and we are seeking 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 2018, the program had 69 mentors and 76 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 STEM employers. The program’s mentees were 35% women, 25% were the first in their family to attend college, and 43% were students of color (5% Asian, 8% Latino/a, 18% African American, and 10% other or mixed race). The mentors in the program also came from diverse backgrounds: 45% women, 29% people of color, and 20% 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.
“We are excited to partner with MassBay for another year of the STEM Mentor Program,” said Sanofi Principal Scientist and STEM Program liaison, Noreen Troccoli. “Our scientists enjoy the opportunity to give back and engage with the students as they proceed down their career paths, and we’ve found that the benefits of these interactions really go both ways. It’s inspiring to help cultivate the next generation of scientists and we expect great things from these students!”
“The STEM Mentor Program provided me with unique opportunities that weren’t offered or available to my friends at a four-year university,” said Tim Bloomingdale, a MassBay General Studies Science student and STEM mentee. “My mentor worked at Sanofi Genzyme for chemical analytics, and he shed light on what a biotech career is on a daily level. He set up a lunch with his supervisor where we toured the research facility, discussed the process of making biologic drugs, and answered any curiosities I had. Through my mentor’s help, I took part in a Spring break learning opportunity at Sanofi, and the program reinforced lab skills I already knew, but also introduced new techniques. My mentor was always willing to help in any capacity, and it is that warmness he exhibited that makes the STEM Mentor Program so wonderful.”
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 6 mentoring programs: Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program, Multicultural Mentoring Program, STEM Mentor Program, MAS (Mentoring and Academic Support) Program at Walsh Middle School,100 Males to College, and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Mentoring 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.