WEST Wisdom Blog

When Worlds Collide: Celebrating International Women’s Day Through Science & Music

Posted by Courtney Cyron on Mar 5, 2024 10:57:04 AM

We often don’t recognize the foundational connection between science and music. Often we consider these opposites that don’t mix, like oil and water. The reality is that the contrary is true. Innovation wouldn’t be possible without both creative and analytical thinking. Science and music connect in a way that allows us to create something beautiful, innovative, and inspiring. Together they provide personal growth, leadership and accountability opportunities, and community support. 2024-03-08 2x1-2

Speaking with Elena Spencer, President of the WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology) Board and President of the Kendall Square Orchestra, brings to light the connection that has allowed for a partnership to present this amazing upcoming community event. Elena believes that both organizations connect in their mission for inclusivity, leadership, and team cooperation. “The Kendall Square Orchestra is comprised of science and technology professionals. There is inherently an intersection between the two organizations when it comes to the importance of diversity and inclusion in our fields. Both organizations strive to do good for the community and advocate for the marginalized.” 

“We consider this overlap between music and science as a driver of change within the industries,” shares Elena. Many of our basic needs for expression are filled by the opportunity to gather, socialize with a group, and work towards a common goal. Both WEST, in their efforts to bring together women in the STEM community and support their career growth, and the Kendall Square Orchestra, in their gathering, rehearsing, and supporting each other in their musical performances and professional careers help to fill this need. “If you have that energy to work together, support each other, inspire those around you, and push each other to be their best, you can create an environment where people are comfortable being vulnerable and can bring their best, whole self to their work - whether in the lab, boardroom or concert hall.” Elena says of the effects of being part of WEST and The Kendall Square Orchestra. 

Kristo Kondakçi, the Music Director of the Kendall Square Orchestra, proposed an International Women’s Day Concert in partnership with WEST to celebrate women past and present in both fields. “The beauty of an event like this,” shares Elena, “is that it brings to light that we all have the power to make a difference in areas we do have some control over.” Each piece of the evening will focus on sharing the journeys of women who have impacted the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) industries, and how their accomplishments pave the way for more opportunity and equality for women within these industries. 

This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is Inspire Inclusion. With that theme in mind, it is fitting that this celebration is centered around the notion that women of all backgrounds and specialties have been on the forefront of innovation throughout history. Despite facing challenges, women in STEAM professions have made groundbreaking contributions and their narratives will be recounted throughout the evening’s program.

The evening will begin with appetizers, networking, and a panel discussion organized by WEST. The panelist will share their efforts to support inclusion and their abilities to empower women in other projects. Panelists will include Kelly Clark of Dewpoint Therapeutics and co-founder of the Kendall Square Orchestra, Gretchen Cook-Andersen of LabCentral, Elena Spencer of WEST and the Kendall Square Orchestra, Meena Subramanyam of Takeda, Francine Trester of The Berklee College of Music and one of the evening’s highlighted composers, and Jo Viney of Seismic Therapeutic. These leading women have made huge contributions towards women’s equality within the STEM industries. They will speak to their professional journeys and the importance of inclusion across both the sciences and the arts. 

After a lively and enlightening discussion on the celebration of women in STEM, The Kendall Square Orchestra will be putting on a performance highlighted by the debut of Francine Trester’s newest piece entitled “In Her Element.” Francine was inspired by the stories of four female scientists. Her composition embodies the power and innovation of these women. This piece, along with others, will close out an International Women’s Day Celebration to remember. 

“I hope that what people take away from this celebration,” Elena shares, “is, first of all, that this concept transcends any one person or any one industry. There are the same needs from a leadership, inclusion, and innovation perspective in both STEM industries and in a musical setting. Also, I hope this event serves as a call to action, inspiring audience members to be drivers of change towards more inclusive environments in their own personal and professional communities."

Join WEST and The Kendall Square Orchestra for a community celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2024. Networking will begin at 5:30 PM and the concert begins at 7:30 PM. “We should focus on the importance of inclusion at all times, not just on International Women’s Day, but there is value in celebrating women, past and present, to raise awareness of the continued importance of striving towards equity in our fields,” shares Elena. “Events like these can inspire future generations as well. Similar to the various musicians in the orchestra playing their own part to contribute to the beauty of the whole symphony, the part you play today will make a difference.”

Get tickets here.

Topics: STEM, Community, Panel, Cambridge, Networking, Upcoming Events, Female, Collaboration, Holiday, #WESTevent, STEM Women, STEAM, The Arts

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