Suffolk County Women Studying STEM Visit Brookhaven Lab

Suffolk County Community College students toured the Center for Functional Nanomaterials to learn about STEM careers

To increase diversity and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, Brookhaven National Laboratory invited young women from Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) to tour the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN). The students met with leading scientists who achieve breakthroughs at the billionth-of-a-meter scale and help open new career paths with each discovery and innovation.

A STEM-driven future needs the most diverse and dynamic talent pool possible, and these bright young women are perfect candidates to lead the way.”

— Mona Rowe

Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS) and Peconic Bay Zonta—a local chapter of the worldwide organization Zonta International—organized the March 28 program for 15 Suffolk County STEM students.

“The women studying STEM at our campuses are highly motivated and hungry for this kind of direct access to professionals,” said Mary Reese, SCCC’s Associate Dean of Student Services. “Our students met inspiring role models at the CFN and got a first-hand look at how exciting and rewarding that caliber of research can be.”

Courtesy C. Conzen, Suffolk County Community College

The event included nanoscience demonstrations, a tour of the CFN experimental facilities, and a panel discussion featuring women in STEM careers at Brookhaven Lab. The students heard from Yan Li of the Computational Science Center and Deyu Lu of CFN, married physicists with children; Mary Ellen Chieco, an engineer in the Energy and Utilities Division; Karen McNulty Walsh, a science writer in the Media and Communications office; and Jessica Hoy, a postdoctoral researcher at CFN. The panelists and participants helped represent the range of different scientific disciplines and career tracks available for both scientists and the staff that support their work.

“A STEM-driven future needs the most diverse and dynamic talent pool possible, and these bright young women are perfect candidates to lead the way,” said Mona Rowe, who manages communications for Brookhaven Lab’s Photon Sciences Directorate and helped spearhead the event with fellow BWIS and Zonta member Kathy Walker. “The program was a great success, and we’re planning to follow up with more outreach activities to encourage women and girls in STEM.”

The CFN visit was part of a larger program SCCC organized through a grant from the American Association of University Women. The students were headed to Stony Brook University after Brookhaven Lab.

“We need more women to be involved and passionate about STEM subjects and aware that career opportunities exist with all levels of higher education,” said Jay Dickerson, Assistant Director of CFN. “I was proud to participate and was impressed by the keen questions and general interest among the students.”

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