On May 15, MdBio Foundation hosted the first STEM Leadership Experience, an afterschool workshop for high school girls, onboard the Mobile eXploration Lab. Designed in collaboration with MdBio’s longtime partner, MedImmune/AstraZeneca, the program is an immersive, hands-on activity designed to teach laboratory practices while building relationships between high school students and STEM professionals.
During the workshop, more than 20 high school students from grades 9-12 were paired with MedImmune/AstraZeneca scientist mentors for a hands-on lab experience, exploring enzymatic activity by investigating the mechanism behind lactose intolerance. Mentors worked with student pairs to show them how to use the scientific equipment and read test results. Following the lab, Head of MedImmune, Dr. Bahija Jallal, answered student questions and shared her personal story about her career path and what her job is really like. Students asked thoughtful questions including, “What advice would you give your fifteen-year-old self about preparing for your career?” and “As the head of a company, do you feel removed from the science?”
“The chance to interact with the STEM professional who acted as our mentors was one of my favorite aspects of the event,” said one student participant. “We got the chance to do a compelling lab while simultaneously learning about our mentors careers and background. This was one of the parts I enjoyed the most because while we were being taught about good practice and the overall lab itself we were also getting exposed to the different aspects of our mentors day to day job and other facets of their career.”
Said one parent after the event, “I can’t thank you enough for connecting [my daughter] with the workshop today. It has all the signs of a life-altering opportunity. [She] has put in all the hard work to be ready for a moment like this and you made it possible for her to shine… I hope your career is filled with days like today, you made a huge impact in the life of a budding scientist!”
MdBio Foundation plans to offer the STEM Leadership Experience throughout the upcoming school year.