A group of nearly 20 students, mostly first- and second-year students yet to declare a major, spent fall break learning about many of the ways in which science and art influence each other and exploring career opportunities at the nexus of these two worlds.
The students were taking part in the STEM & the Arts Intensive, the latest in a series of three- to four-day, project-based, non-credit seminars held during fall and spring breaks.
“The point of all of these intensives is to broaden the scope of what students envision as they look at life after Bryn Mawr,” says Ella Braden, program coordinator for the STEM intensives.
A highlight of the week included a trip to Philadelphia’s public radio station, WHYY, where students met with reporters and producers of The Pulse, a program focused on health, science, and innovation stories.
While at the WHYY studios, the students were able to spend time talking with Molly Seavy-Nesper '12, the associate producer of online media for the nationally syndicated program Fresh Air.
Among the advice Molly had for students was to “ask for what you want. You'll be surprised how often it can work.”
The students also traveled to West Philadelphia and the workshop of Tiny WPA, a nonprofit that helps community members find opportunities to contribute to the design of their schools, neighborhoods, and cities.
While there, students got hands-on training using some of the tools the organization uses to make everything from small classroom items to park and bus benches.
The week’s on-campus activities included workshops on working with the audio editing software Audacity; a science cartooning workshop led by local artist Eleanor Evans, and a chance to try out Bryn Mawr’s three sets of HoloLenses.
A number of alumnae returned to campus to spend time with the students and offer up their advice.
Becky Thompson '01 stopped by to talk about her role as head of public outreach at APS Physics, which includes being the creative force behind the organization’s Spectra comic book. Lauren Friedman '05, senior editor at Business Insider, talked about careers in science journalism. The final day of the intensive featured an alumnae panel of Kate Cuffari '99, an associate conservator of decorative arts and sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Daniella Forstater '04, a music teacher in the Philadelphia School District; Catherine Matsen '97, associate scientist at Winterthur Museum; and Kathryn Reber '05, horticulture supervisor at Temple University.
Maya Bhalla-Ladd was among the students to take part in the intensive.
“It was a really worthwhile way to spend my fall break,” says Maya. “I think I will definitely pursue a life that allows me to pursue my passion of STEM, while appreciating the beauty of the arts”
The next STEM intensive, STEM and Tech, will be held Jan. 11-14. Registration is available online.
The intensives are funded through a $300,000 grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.