The Collegian
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Science majors create student group, seek career services in their field

<p>&nbsp;Gottwald Center for the Sciences, home to biology, chemistry and physics&nbsp;</p>

 Gottwald Center for the Sciences, home to biology, chemistry and physics 

Three students in the Gottwald Center for the Sciences started the Gottwald Student Group to provide resources for students interested in STEM careers, specifically those who do not plan to attend medical or graduate school. The organization is not yet recognized by UR.

The students, seniors Sophie Weinberg and Josie Anderson and junior Kelly Saverino, started the group last fall hoping to provide STEM majors with necessary resources to advance in their careers, such as workshops for soft skills and networking opportunities with alumni.

The trio felt these resources were not sufficiently being provided by UR in comparison to support for leadership studies and business majors, Weinberg said.

“Gottwald does not have the same sense of community that is provided by the Jepson School of Leadership Studies or the Robins School of Business since there is no official student board to organize events,” Weinberg said.

Since its founding, the Gottwald Student Group has held several opportunities, such as networking meetings with alumni and a career panel with UR’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which offers non-credit courses with no assignments or grades to adults older than the age of 50. The group intends to provide another event similar to the career panel this semester, Weinberg said. 

“We are also trying to organize different resources for students, such as a compiled list of research labs for easy access and peer mentoring programs,” she said.

The student group offered their events remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Weinberg said. 

Biology professor Isaac Skromne helps recruit students and spread information about the group’s events as the faculty adviser for the Gottwald Student Group, he said.

“The fact that this has been fully coordinated by students, without anyone to tell them what to do, speaks loudly that we as faculty and administration need to pay attention to student needs,” Skromne said. “We need to keep supporting student initiatives like this because who is better to know what they need than the students themselves?”

The founders struggled to organize remote career-oriented events that could be both educational and engaging for the student body.

“When creating the group it was difficult to know where to begin,” Weinberg said. “We received support from various professors and students, but we wished we had more formal support like the Jepson School of Leadership Studies or the Robins School of Business do. 

“Business school majors have a plethora of job and internship opportunities at their immediate disposal, especially on sites such as SpiderConnect. They also participate in Q-Camp, have business communication courses and have multiple reputable companies who directly and regularly recruit [UR] students.” 

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Brandy Ewell, a Career Services adviser who focuses on the science, health, nonprofit and education industries, found that Career Services had multiple resources for STEM students, Ewell said in an interview with The Collegian.  

One Career Services event for STEM students this semester was “Science Careers Under The Microscope,” a  panel discussion and networking event with alumni working in a variety of science fields, Ewell said. Ewell also noted that a wellness class titled Exploring Careers in Healthcare is being offered this semester. 

“We are starting our planning process for next year, including programs such as ‘Deconstructing Health’ and ‘A&S NEXT’ which benefit STEM students,” Ewell said. “Deconstructing Health, which we held in October 2020, allows students to explore clinical and nonclinical healthcare career paths. 

A&S NEXT, which was held in January, is a program where Arts & Sciences students work with the alumni, faculty, and their peers to solve real-world problems, such as disparities in health and healthcare, data analytics, and environmental impact.

Ewell said students can also use drop-in hours or make an appointment on SpiderConnect to find opportunities that are related to the specific interests they have

“You can also sign up to get a Science and Health weekly newsletter which includes opportunities that are STEM-related,” Ewell said. 

Contact features writer Nicole Llacza Morazzani at nicole.llaczamorazzani@richmond.edu.

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