This fall, our partners at i.am College Track in Boyle Heights and College Track Watts have been keeping students interested and engaged in STEM through virtual mentorship and career panels with professionals working in STEM fields.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after-school programs have had to move their enrichment activities online. During the Fall 2020 semester, College Track has been organizing monthly career panels over Zoom, where students were able to hear from professionals from STEM fields such as medicine, software engineering, and artificial intelligence.
These sessions have given students a glimpse into what steps it took to become successful in their careers, the struggles they may have encountered, and the similarities they may share with our students. So far about 30-50 students have participated per session, with speakers from companies such as IBM, Esri, and Snapchat.
Both College Track sites emphasized how important these types of virtual events are right now given the challenges that the COVID-19 virus has created. In pre-pandemic times, professionals could visit their sites and interact with students in person. Having these sessions virtually has actually been more impactful because now students from both sites can network with each other as well as these professionals, all from the safety of their home.