College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) alumnae and students told a group of more than 300 high school girls that they could be all they could be in a career in science. In fact they told them how to be successful in a scientific field by relating their own academic and career paths and the role that CSE played in their achievements. The event was the Annual CSE Women in Science Day, held March 6, 2013, in the College’s Annunciation Center Dolan Performance Hall, when high school girls interested in pursuing a scientific career are invited to listen to a panel of successful CSE alumnae and a second panel of current science majors speak about their academic and career experiences. The event was made possible through a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in collaboration with the Independent College Fund of New Jersey.
The event is testament to the College’s commitment to encouraging women to careers in science. In its 114-year history, CSE has been dedicated to educating women in the sciences and has been preparing students to be doctors, scientific researchers, and healthcare professionals, and more. Many of these professionals credit their CSE education as a critical ingredient to their success.
One of those grateful professionals is Dr. Amanda Mower, ’98, associate medical director at Impact Communication Partners and chemistry major. The audience was listening intently as she commented, “At CSE, I was exposed to opportunities I wouldn’t have at other institutions. It is important to be in an environment that allows you to explore, to learn about yourself. I learned what my place was in the world. I learned how to interact with any branch of science, and I learned the skills to hold my own.”
All the alumnae panelists emphasized that in addition to the great science education they received at CSE, they also credited the College’s commitment to empowering women as critical to their success. “I
received what I needed at CSE,” said Michele Salese, ’99, senior chemist at L’Oréal and a chemistry major. “The person you become here is a wonderful person because it is not just what you study. It’s about the whole person, the person you become.”
Added Chelsea Bonetta,’11, analytical chemist with Eurofins Agroscience Services and chemistry major, “The College of Saint Elizabeth is like a family. Having people to support you is very important, and that is what you get here. If I had gone anywhere else, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They taught me how to be a woman in science.”
Former biology majors Dr. Erica Salerno,’04, a research scientist, and Dr. Lisa Reihl-Cronin, ’05, an ICU pediatric hospitalist, and Jenna Graziano, ’12, currently a CSE graduate student in nutrition, completed the alumnae panel.
The audience then heard from a panel of current CSE students who shared their experiences and achievements as they pursue careers in biology, chemistry, allied health, and nutrition. Those students were biology majors Kristin King, ’13, Chiamaka Nwangwu, ’14; foods and nutrition major Nashley Sokoli, ’13; chemistry major Kristen Kurtz, ’13, who is also double majoring in foods and nutrition; biochemistry major Marleny Escano, ’14; and allied health major Jennifer Ampofo, ’14.
The event ended with the high school students touring the labs and visiting the Wellness Fair in Saint Joseph’s Hall on the CSE campus. At the fair, high school students mingled with CSE students, staff and faculty, getting blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar screening. They spoke to a wide variety of health-related exhibitors from places such as Morristown Medical Center, CSE Foods and Nutrition, NJ Lupus Foundation, and Jersey Battered Women Services.