KGI hosted its first ever STEM Inc. event on Thursday, March 22, featuring a panel discussion in honor of Women’s History Month on how to succeed in the STEM workplace.

The discussion included panelists Mary Hatcher-Skeers of the W.M. Keck Science Department, Sukumarakurup Krishnakumar of KGI, Yolanda T. Moses of UC Riverside, and KGI alumna Aditi Shastry, MBS ‘17.

The panelists and audience were welcomed with remarks by KGI School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Founding Dean and Professor Kathy Webster, while current Master of Business and Science student Madelyn Low presided as moderator. The hour-long discussion included observations from all four panelists and a question-and-answer session with attendees.

“We at KGI are so proud of this initiative and this event!” said Christa Oudshoorn-Hobo, alumni engagement manager at KGI. “The feedback we received from students and alumni is tremendous.”

STEM Inc. was formed to promote STEM inclusion to students from KGI, other Claremont Colleges, and local K-12 schools. STEM Inc. will be a branded series of events featuring visiting speakers, roundtable discussions, and career exploration treks intended to spotlight the challenges and opportunities associated with being a woman, student of color, or LGBTQ in the STEM fields.

The ultimate goal of STEM Inc. will be to establish a permanent and physical resource center on campus for STEM access and inclusion.

“It is time to bridge the divide in STEM and ensure that all sectors of the workforce are represented equally in industry,” said KGI President Sheldon Schuster. “There is clearly a need for this type of programming and resources for students and alumni.”

The next STEM Inc. event, a career trek, will take place on June 6. Students will have the opportunity to visit and tour local life science companies and learn from company representatives. 

Mary Hatcher-Skeers on the topic of increasing inclusion within the workplace:

“It takes an organization’s willingness to have the conversations. You’d like to think that it’s easy, but it’s not easy. Once you gain a little power [within your organization], then it’s your job to start using that power to change things.”

Yolanda T. Moses on the topic of progressing one’s career:

“You need to ask the tough question: is this really what you want to do? Are you in the right field? Are you passionate? Are there opportunities to do what you want to do? If not, then figure out what steps you have to take to change. Take advantage of training and opportunities. Be available to step in when someone is out. Get known in your organization as someone people can count on.”

Aditi Shastry on the topic of career advice:

“I wish I had been taught the importance of networking at a younger age. I didn’t really know how to network or if that was something that could happen in college. At KGI, that’s the big thing: that’s how I got my internship, that’s how I eventually got my full-time job. It’s really important to build your network at every step of the way.”

Sukumarakurup “Kumar” Krishnakumar on the topic of women negotiating a salary:

“Research clearly shows that women tend not to initiate negotiation [on their salary]. However, there are some conditions that can mitigate that. If there are situational cues or if the situation is so clear that everyone is supposed to negotiate, then these gender differences actually go away.”