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Sanofi to Fund MassBay’s STEM Mentor Program 2020-2021 Academic Year

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (August 11, 2020) — MassBay Community College is pleased to announce the awarding of a $45,000 charitable contribution from Sanofi to fund MassBay’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Mentor Program for the 2020–2021 academic year. This is the sixth consecutive year Sanofi has funded this vitally important mentorship program for students in the STEM Division at MassBay. A Massachusetts Department of Higher Education STEM Starter Academy grant also funds the STEM Mentor Program.

Since its inception in 2014, MassBay’s STEM Mentor Program has worked closely with Sanofi employees to offer 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. The program actively recruits students from underrepresented groups. More than 30 percent of participants are low-income, people of color, first in their family to attend college, and/or women. The program includes one-to-one meetings between mentors and mentees, group activities, networking events, and workshops. After being matched via information from an enrollment form, potential mentors and mentees receive independent orientation and training sessions that provide an overview of the program, expectations of the mentor/mentee relationship, the roles and responsibilities of each party, and suggested activities to work on together.

“Our students gain self-advocacy skills through the professional relationship with their mentor, learn about workplace expectations, and receive feedback on their academic plans,” said MassBay’s STEM Mentor Program Manager, Tracey Gustafson. “Mentors in the program overwhelmingly report that they also benefit from sharing their expertise and knowledge with their mentees. They enjoy giving back to the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

In the fall of 2014, MassBay launched the STEM Mentor Program with 41 students and one company, Sanofi , whose employees served as mentors. In the fall 2019 semester, MassBay kicked-off our sixth year of the program with 87 mentees and 79 mentors from 24 employers including Sanofi, MathWorks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Winchester Engineering Analytical Center, and many other regional STEM organizations. The demographic breakdown of the program’s mentee group was 45 percent students from racial or ethnic minority groups, 37 percent women, and 30 percent first generation college students. The mentors in the program also came from diverse backgrounds: 41 percent women, 29 percent people of color, and 23 percent were the first in their family to attend college. Mentors relate their unique experiences in STEM careers and help students see themselves as STEM professionals in the future. MassBay has seen an increased demand over the years for mentors as interest grows in our STEM programs and in STEM careers in the Metrowest region.

“I was one of the founders of the MassBay STEM Mentorship program, and have participated as a mentor. This program is so important because it helps provide the support, encouragement and advice to students striving to succeed in STEM fields,” said Rebecca Sendak, Head, R&D North America Hub and STEM Mentor. “The data shows this makes a real difference for MassBay student outcomes, and as an added benefit, Mentors also gain from the relationships.  Connecting with someone just starting their journey in Science is really exciting and rewarding and can help re-frame your own perspective as a Mentor.”

“The STEM Mentor Program was undoubtedly the best part of my time at MassBay,” commented MassBay computer science student, Victoria Munroe. “Not only was the support of my mentor invaluable in furthering my career goals and helping me whenever I hit a stumbling block in my classes, but the community of the mentor program was an outstanding resource I could always rely on.  Students, Tracey, Valerie, and the rest of the staff were consistently available, offering support or just an exciting reprieve from the rigors of STEM study.”

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, ethnicities, and values, and prepare them for a successful future. Currently, MassBay has six mentoring programs: Peer Mentoring Program, Multicultural Mentoring Program, STEM Mentor Program, MAS (Mentoring and Academic Support) Program at Framingham’s Walsh Middle School, our Young Students of Color group’s 100 Males to College, and the Business Mentoring Program.

In fall 2020, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the STEM Mentor Program will be holding remote events and mentors/mentees will be using video meeting platforms for virtual meetings. For more information on MassBay Community College’s STEM Mentor Program, or to inquire about mentoring a STEM student for the 2020 - 2021 academic year, please contact Tracey Gustafson at

MassBay Community College is ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for two-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England, and #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.

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