About a year ago, WEST launched what has become one of our most popular series: WoW - WEST on Wednesdays Networking. These events are approximately once per month, with each event usually having a sponsor host in their company’s space. This constant moving of the event allows for a different atmosphere and new people to network with each time. The atmosphere, appetizers, and drinks are all great reasons to attend, but the real value lies within the community that gathers together for each event. “I love when corporations in the heart of the innovation hub here in Cambridge/Boston generously provide their locations. The inspirational surroundings help create a vibrant atmosphere that fosters both professional and personal conversations. Having been a WEST virtual mentor this past year, I particularly enjoyed meeting some of my mentees and fellow mentors at the events, helping to strengthen those relationships,” shares Jocelyn Dunphy, WEST Member.
The month of May celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. WEST's 2022-2023 annual theme is "Strong Women, Strong Science, Strong World," and these women are a perfect example that science knows no geographic or gender-based bounds. Women of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have made, and are currently making huge strides in their fields of study, and are part of the development and discoveries that are constantly changing our world for the better. These are just a few of the innumerable women of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage that have made a huge impact on our world.
You know your company is downsizing, your boss calls you into their office. You go in, sit down, lump in your throat, you know what’s next. The conversation is pretty straightforward. Your boss says something like: “I’m really sorry, but as we downsize we’re cutting a lot of positions, and yours is one of them.” At that point, you’re not quite sure what to say or do, whether you expected it or not. The reality of being laid off leaves so much more uncertainty than you could possibly have prepared for.
Topics: STEM, Career, Interview, Panel, Job, Professional, Change, Solutions, Career Path, Developing Your Skills, Career Development, New Opportunities, Hiring, STEM Women, Hiring Women in STEM, Experience
When we consider a traditional career ‘path,’ we are often looking at the educational background, first steps into professional positions, and growth path into a goal position or leadership role. When we ask a high schoolers, for example, what they want to do after they graduate, many will give you a step-by-step guide that they have attached themselves to in order to get into whatever job or industry is their goal. The reality is, even the best-laid plans are subject to change. Diane Ma has experienced these plan changes at a variety of points throughout her education and professional journeys.
WEST is celebrating African American History month by highlighting African American women in STEM careers that have made critical contributions in their fields. These are women who have paved the way for equal opportunity employment to continue to progress each and every day. The women we have selected to be highlighted put in years of work to chase their dreams and break through barriers in order to live lives that were truly fulfilling to them. The personal and professional characteristics of these women are worth celebrating everyday throughout the year.
Often we misunderstand confidence to be a magical feeling that we either possess or it will elude us forever. We then find ourselves wondering how we can create this magical feeling of confidence. However, in reality, confidence is less of a magical gift and more a result of the everyday work of taking on difficult things, learning, failing, growing, and succeeding. In other words, it is not a question of whether you are a confident person or not, but a result of showing up courageously and authentically to things that feel hard (even impossible), scare us, and doing our best. Repeatedly showing up in those difficult situations courageously would slowly build that trust for you in your abilities, and that’s what confidence in self is: a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment. Confidence is an outcome of courage, not the other way around. This is what Pallavi Srivastava will focus on in her workshop for the WEST community “Nurturing Confidence: The Path Through Courage & Authenticity.”
On January 11th, WEST held “The Journey Starts Now: Q&A Sessions With Women in STEM and What You Can Do Starting in High School,” a guest speaker panel moderated by Suhanee Mitragotri (Harvard College 2025. During this event, we had the pleasure of hearing from three incredible speakers: Dr. Cristina Almansa, Dr. Ambika Bajpayee, and Dr. Lesley Chan. Dr. Almansa is the Head of Clinical Sciences, Translational Medicine Immunology at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. She is leading a team of scientists responsible for the design and execution of early development trials to evaluate the safety and determine the mechanism of action of new molecular entities for the treatment of patients with immunological disorders. Dr. Bajpayee is a professor of bioengineering at Northeastern University. Her lab is focused on nanomedicine and bioelectrics designed for delivery of small-molecule drugs, antibodies, and genetic materials to tissue. Dr. Chan is the Senior Director of Process Sciences and Innovations at bluebird bio. She drives initiatives for implementing new manufacturing processes in gene-modified stem and progenitor cell therapy.
Kristine has lived all over the country, but after spending time at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute she has decided to continue to call the Greater Boston Area her home. She has spent most of her career studying cancer and working to provide solutions to cancer patients around the world. She came to WEST initially in 2014 for a Career Possibilities Panel focusing on R&D careers. After loving her first experience with WEST, Kristine continued to stay involved and has helped develop events, served as an Advisory Board member and in 2022 joined the Board and the mentoring committee.
Let’s get uncomfortable for a second. Have you ever noticed something about a perfect stranger that made you think a certain way about them? What about when you look in the mirror? There’s so much to say about the things we focus on when we first meet a new person or see ourselves each day. If you stop and think about those thoughts, you’ll notice what’s called your unconscious bias. These are things you think, but don’t necessarily know that often change your perception. Not all unconscious biases are prejudicial, but none of them help you to truly listen and know another person.
Topics: Communication, Coaching, Culture, Discussion, Career Path, Career Development, Empowerment, Inclusion, Diversity, #WESTevent, Change Management, #WESTorg, Corporate Culture, D&I, Equity, Conversations
WEST is excited to continue its Career Possibilities & Speed Networking series with it’s upcoming event focusing on legal career paths. While legal opportunities aren’t the obvious STEM route, there are so many opportunities to grow a very successful legal career with a STEM background. The panelists for this event are prime examples of following a passion for both legal work and the advancing of science and technology in our world.