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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

New Saint Mary’s committee seeks to empower STEM students

Saint Mary’s students are seeking to improve developments for fellow STEM majors through the creation of the Student Committee on Research Expansion (SCORE), which promotes undergraduate research and opportunities.

SCORE committee co-faculty advisor and chemistry professor Jen Fishovitz said the club’s aim is to emphasize the importance of STEM research and provide experiences for students.

“SCORE was started by two students who graduated last year,” Fishovitz said. “These students had research experiences in their respective fields and they found it very useful, so they wanted to encourage younger students to get these experiences earlier in their career.”

The other co-faculty advisor, biology professor Vanessa Young, said she hopes SCORE will empower future students to pursue prominent leadership positions in STEM fields.

SCORE seeks to empower Saint Mary’s women to pursue research, advocate for student opportunities and celebrate advances in scholarship accomplished by students involved in research and professional development activities,” Young said in an email.

Senior Heather DiLallo said STEM research has had a profound impact on her undergraduate experience, leading her to take an active role on the SCORE committee.

“Research, leadership and professional development skills are able to prepare students for life post-graduation and give them one step up against their peers from other institutions,” DiLallo said in an email. “I chose to get involved with SCORE because I have been blessed with so many engineering opportunities, and I want to give back to those around me.”

The SCORE committee has specific goals to help students achieve success and participate in meaningful collaborations with each other, DiLallo said.

“The committee operates under four pillars: opportunity, advocacy, celebration and empowerment with the mission to inspire the future female scientists, mathematicians and engineers of tomorrow,” she said. “We believe that research is an academic experience that can teach the students at Saint Mary’s beyond the classroom lecture and develop them into more well-rounded scholars.”

Fishovitz said the committee is working to implement new ways to reach out to students and link them with faculty members who will keep students informed about different experiences.

“SCORE is working on ways to connect all of the departments, so there’s one place where students can go to see what opportunities are out there for them,” Fishovitz said. “We have a Facebook page where we post research opportunities, internships and any kind of summer experiences that students could have. Instead of getting things from individual faculty, they’re getting them from students, which can be more powerful.”

On campus, SCORE has been working to help organize different events for STEM students to increase awareness.

“We have helped plan STEM Fall Poster Day in August,” DiLallo said. “Currently, we are organizing events to bring alumnae on campus for a Professional Development Workshop in January, and plan STEM Accepted Students weekend.”

Sophomore and SCORE member Veronica Vanoverbeke said being part of the SCORE community has greatly impacted her college experience.

“Being a part of SCORE has really touched my heart,” she said. “Participating in this is exciting because it’s about improving STEM culture and promoting the future of women in STEM.”