Mater Dei Prep Students Attend GAINS - Girls Advancing in STEM Conference


Mater Dei Prep students had the opportunity to attend the GAINS - Girls Advancing in STEM conference sponsored by the Greenwich Academy in CT which lists as their graduates, Jane Fonda and Ethel Kennedy.

The GAINS organization connects girls interested in STEM with peers and role models and gives them access to information about STEM careers through interactions with professionals. The conference educates girls about STEM-focused research being led by women.

Participants in the conference included women from institutions such as Regeneron, Stamford Health, Yale University and The Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine. Our students were able to learn about STEM careers and explore topics such as the inner workings of a hospital, Alzheimer’s research, the role of research in scientific discovery, immunotherapies, the role of a student-run free medical clinic in NYC, Resilience Strategies for Med School, Building Technology to Help Animals, Neuroscience and Game Development. Our own, Carolyn Broderick, Mater Dei Board of Trustee, was a speaker at the conference, educating the young women on career paths in Human Relations Technology and Work Force Analytics.

Dr. Lisa Sanders, who was the Keynote Speaker of the conference, is a clinician educator in the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Yale School of Medicine. In 2002, she began writing a column for The New York Times called Diagnosis, that covered medical mystery cases. Dr. Sanders spoke to the girls about how your path may not always be straight. She worked in theater and TV businesses before realizing these weren’t her passions. Dr. Sanders ended up applying to medical school at the age of 30 and eventually getting into Yale, which was her top choice! Though her path was a bit convoluted, she has finally ended up where she feels the most fulfilled and expressed her determination to those in attendance.

Dr. Jean Nichols-Kovacs, Head of Health Sciences at Mater Dei Prep, attended along with Principal, Mrs. Debra Serafin and students, Grace Donohue (MDP ’21), Elizabeth Bertsch (MDP ’22), Anushka Sharma (MDP ’21), Jenna Dacquel (MDP ’22), and Madeline Frohnhoefer (MDP ’21).  The organizers of the event hosted small-group sessions including, technical talks, virtual STEM tours and a career mixer with experienced and passionate professionals in STEM fields. The students reported that the speakers were engaging and inspiring.

Mater Dei Prep feels honored and immensely appreciative to be a part of such a prestigious and momentous event. A special thank you to Board Member Carolyn Broderick for providing our young women with the opportunity to learn from the experiences of powerful and successful women. Hearing from these established and renowned professionals is invaluable to our students. The young women left the conference not only with insight into new fields of work, but also with a reaffirmed trust in their capabilities as women and an understanding that all paths are possible with hard work, support and the dream to achieve.