Panel discussion and networking event inspires female Quinnipiac students pursuing STEM careers

April 10, 2024

Panelists sit in the piazza in the Carl Hansen Student Center

Quinnipiac women pursuing STEM-related careers did not miss the opportunity to hear from five inspiring panelists, then network with more female professionals and Quinnipiac professors, during the second annual Quinnipiac Women in STEM Mentoring and Networking event.

The event created a buzz in the Carl Hansen Student Center on April 3, as STEM students gathered to hear panelists discuss how they leveraged their education, employed networking skills, developed strong relationships with mentors and continued to believe in themselves to help achieve their career goals.

Following a student Q&A, the night transitioned into a networking session. Panelists joined the mix of alumni, professors and visiting STEM professionals to interact with students in support of the next generation of women in STEM.

Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) graduate students Mikayli Wojciak ‘23, MS ’24, and Jennifer Martinez ’23, MS ’24, coordinated the event and served as panel moderators.

“Last year, we helped the graduate students who organized this event for the first time; after we all went to another event and we were inspired by what we saw and how they were interacting with different STEM fields,” said Martinez. “We wanted to bring it to the Quinnipiac community and that led to the creation of Quinnipiac Women in STEM. And now, we have amazing undergrads who are also working with us."

Students organize the annual gathering of female STEM professionals, professors and students with support and guidance from Catherine Takizawa, director of Quinnipiac’s accelerated dual degree BS in Biology/MS in MCB program.

“We took their enthusiasm and their passion and we created the event last year; and now, we have two new coordinators this year,” said Takizawa. “It gives them an opportunity to become leaders and I think the students who are attending tonight are getting new perspectives and will walk away with some good advice.”

Panelist Madison Murphy ’22, MS ‘23, helped to initiate the inaugural event last year. On April 3, Murphy shared her insights as a recent graduate who has transitioned from school to working as a first-year postgraduate associate at Yale’s School of Medicine within the Department of Pathology.

“Never tell yourself 'no,'” Murphy advised her fellow female Bobcats in STEM. “If you’re hesitant about applying for a job, just apply for it. The worst that they’re going to do is tell you no. You never know what employers and mentors are looking for and to take yourself out of the race before you’ve even started is just a disservice to you.”

Panelist Allison Beitel, MD, is a private-practice pediatrician who has served as a mentor to medical students, residents and nursing students completing their clinical rotations in her Wallingford, Connecticut office.

Looking back over her career of the past 20 years, when asked what she might do differently, Beitel said she likely would have more strongly considered pursuing research; specifically, oncology research.

“There are so many fields out there in science that need good young minds,” said Beitel. “There are so many problems that need solving. Although I feel like I help a lot of people in general in pediatrics, sometimes I feel I could have really honed in on a specific area of research and done work for that field.”

Also joining the panel was Muskan Kohli, a physician from India with two years of clinical experience who is a public health practitioner. Kohli has also led a student-integrated mentorship program to help mentees and mentors. Additionally, Kohli is currently serving as a research and policy project intern with the Town of Orange Health Department.

“Keep learning new skills,” Kohli advised. “There is no way you can go ahead without that.”

Professional engineer Maureen Crowley, project manager with infrastructure consulting firm AECOM, described her STEM career. As an undergraduate, Crowley studied civil engineering. She said working for the past 28 years with a large firm such as AECOM, which has 51,000 employees, has allowed her to be involved in large, difficult projects all over the United States.  

“It’s been an interesting ride," said Crowley. “I specialize in water and waste-water treatment and conveyance systems, it’s been a great career." 

Panelist Jill Day is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in mood disorders and child/adolescent psychiatry. She shared her inspirational story of her current plans to complete her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at age 54, while also working in a private practice and serving as a clinical lead to several institutions.

“Always keep working hard,” said Day. “I’m so proud to see that you’re here in this room as women in STEM. Never limit yourself.”

Describing how she contacted leadership in her organization with a fully developed idea for a new position, for which she was subsequently hired, Day advised the students that, “…if you don’t see a seat at the table, make your own table. If it doesn’t exist, go for it. Create it. Don’t be afraid to talk to somebody. They may have more experience than you, and they may hold a high title but they still appreciate you coming to them personally. So just go for it.”

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now