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Genzyme deepens partnership with MassBay Community College with $26,500 award to support STEM Mentor Program

Friday, June 19, 2015

WELLESLEY HILLS (June 19, 2015) – Massachusetts Bay Community College is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $26,500 grant from the Genzyme Charitable Foundation in support of its STEM Mentor Program, which encourages students from underrepresented communities to consider careers in the STEM field.

The grant is the first by Genzyme, a Sanofi company, to MassBay and represents a significant next step in an exciting mentoring partnership that has developed between the college and the company. During the program’s pilot year during the 2014-2015 academic year, 38 employees from Genzyme mentored MassBay students to provide academic guidance, job shadowing, and opportunities for bonding at networking and social events.

"This mentoring program gives our students opportunities to build important social-professional relationships that go beyond traditional academic experiences such as academic advising and student clubs,” said Chitra Javdekar, Dean of STEM division at MassBay. “Students can learn to navigate the academic and professional world from their mentors who offer valuable insights for personal and professional growth.”

The mentor program encourages students of color, low income backgrounds, first in their families to attend college, and women – profiles not typically found in large numbers in the science and technology fields — to consider STEM careers by pairing them with current professionals who share their career interest or backgrounds.

In the program’s first year, 38 percent of the mentors and 55 percent of students who participated were people of color. Forty-two percent of mentors and 32 percent of students were women. These numbers are particularly impressive, especially when compared to national statistics of professionals in the STEM fields. African Americans and Latinos collectively earn just 11 percent of science degrees, nationwide. Similarly, both groups combine to make up 9 percent of the science and engineering workforce in the United States.

Through this grant, MassBay intends to increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds to participate in the program and encourage more employees from greater Boston to get involved.

Founded in 1961, MassBay Community College is a comprehensive, open access, public college with campuses in Wellesley, Framingham, and Ashland, offering degree, certificate, 4-year transfer, and workforce programs to youth and adult learners. The College’s mission is to foster educational excellence and student success, prepare students for local and global citizenship, and anticipate and respond to the needs of the MetroWest region and contribute to its economic development. MassBay has been a leader among community colleges in engaging underrepresented students in STEM. It has produced 20 Goldwater Scholars, received prestigious grants from the National Science Foundation, been commended at the White House, and been featured in national media. The school is among the top ten private and public colleges throughout the nation for students who receive competitive Massachusetts Life Sciences Center internships.

Genzyme is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of the patients and families it serves. Founded in 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts, Genzyme has evolved from a small start-up to one of the world’s leading biotech companies. As a pioneer of the biotechnology movement in the early 1980s, Genzyme has always been driven by cutting-edge science and a commitment to treating unmet medical needs. The company is committed to discovering and delivering transformative therapies for patients with rare and special unmet medical needs. It is also committed to responsible corporate citizenship, leading its industry in environmental initiatives and support for local communities through grants and employee volunteer efforts. Acquired by Sanofi in 2011, its operations now reach across the globe.

MassBay Community College is a comprehensive, open-access college dedicated to student learning and achievement through academically rigorous courses and programs. MassBay awards associate degrees and certificates in more than 70 academic programs in the liberal arts and in career-driven fields, such as business, health sciences, and automotive technology. On the college’s three campuses in Wellesley Hills, Framingham, and Ashland, as well as online, MassBay offers day, evening, and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career-minded life-long learners.

More information about MassBay and the upcoming academic semesters can be found at, or by calling (781) 239-2411.