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Sanofi Genzyme and MathWorks Fund MassBay STEM Mentor Program for 2019-2020

Monday, July 8, 2019

Carlos Benitez Carlos Benitez
Photo courtesy of Carlos Benitez
MassBay Community College

Dennis Gesin Dennis Gesin
Photo courtesy of Dennis Gesin
MassBay Community College

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (July 2019) – MassBay Community College is pleased to announce the awarding of a $43,000 charitable contribution from Sanofi Genzyme and $3,000 community grant from MathWorks to once again assist in funding MassBay’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Mentor Program for the 2019-2020 academic year. This is the fifth consecutive year Sanofi Genzyme has funded this vitally important mentorship program for students in the STEM Division at MassBay. The STEM Mentor Program is also funded by 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 relationship, the roles and responsibilities 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.

“Students in the STEM Mentor Program reported they most enjoy visiting their mentor’s work place, meeting co-workers, and discussing career options,” said MassBay’s STEM Mentor Program Coordinator, Tracey Gustafson. “Meeting professionals working in their field of study inspires them to persevere through adversity and challenging coursework. Practical advice and encouragement from a mentor translates to achievement and retention.”

In the fall of 2014, MassBay launched the STEM Mentor Program with 41 students and one company, Sanofi Genzyme, whose employees served as mentors. In the fall 2018 semester we kicked-off our fifth year of the Program with 73 mentees and 68 mentors representing 22 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 employers. The program’s mentee group was comprised of 39% from racial or ethnic minority groups; 30% women, 23% were the first in their family to attend college. The mentors in the program also came from diverse backgrounds: 48% women, 38% people of color, and 26% first generation college students. Mentors relate their unique experiences preparing for careers in STEM and help students see themselves as STEM professionals of the future. 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.

“I support the MassBay STEM Mentorship Program because I believe that anyone who wishes to pursue a career in STEM should have all the necessary resources to help them achieve their career goals,” said Sanofi Scientist and MassBay STEM Mentor, Carlos Benitez. “This program is an excellent example of the means to that end. I’m proud to have been involved with such a successful program from the beginning and to bear witness to all of the amazing outcomes. Being a mentor allows me to pay forward the mentorship I received throughout my academic and professional careers.”

“The STEM Mentor Program has been an invaluable resource for me,” said MassBay Associate of Science graduate and STEM mentee alumni, Dennis Gesin. “It has motivated me to continue pursuing not only my interests in science, but also to transfer to a four-year institution to complete my baccalaureate. I learned so much about how dynamic the research field is by visiting Sanofi and even learned about the wonderful college programs that I did not know about until I sat in on very informative panels. My mentor kept my passion in science alive, and he turned my dreams of becoming a scientist into a distinct possibility.”

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 6 mentoring programs: Peer Mentoring Program, Multicultural Mentoring Program, STEM Mentor Program, MAS (Mentoring and Academic Support) Program at Walsh Middle School, 100 Males to College, and Business Mentoring Program.

For more information on MassBay Community College’s STEM Mentor Program or to inquire about  mentoring a STEM student for the 2019-20 academic year, please contact Valerie Kapilow, vkapilow@massbay.edu; 781-239-3157.

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.