STEM Ambassadors Connect AP with Careers

STEM Ambassadors Meeting Their Adopted Classes

This past July at the Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI), Thermo Fisher Scientific introduced to 350+ Massachusetts teachers the new STEM Ambassadors - rising star employees who have adopted Advanced Placement (AP) students in Mass Insight Education’s Mass Math + Science Initiative. Teachers attending the APSI, the state’s largest AP training session, met the STEM Ambassadors to learn how their students can engage with corporate partners to promote college and career pathways in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The STEM Ambassadors will meet regularly with their AP math, science, and English students throughout the year.

Under the direction of the teachers, they will work with students to help them prepare for the AP exam and will build connections between math/science education, college success, and work skills in demand. Thermo Fisher Scientific’s STEM Ambassador program serves as a model for other corporations to adopt AP students in MMSI and contribute to student achievement and to advance college success.

In explaining the adoption, MMSI President Mort Orlov says, “Not all students can see the big picture when it comes to AP. They’re focused, and rightfully so, on earning a qualifying exam score so they can receive college credit. It’s the edge in college admission and it’s the savings in tuition, but there are more benefits to completing an AP course. The STEM Ambassadors come to the classroom to demonstrate that intrinsic value which is rarely shared with students: the time management and problem-solving skills, the confidence, and the opportunities as they transition through college and into their careers. The unique support that the STEM Ambassadors bring to the classroom is another example of how MMSI and our corporate partners are changing the game for our students.”

During this year’s MMSI Kick-Offs, STEM Ambassadors have been meeting students in the adopted AP classrooms in Bellingham, Methuen, Malden and the O’Bryant School for Math and Science in Boston. The Thermo Fisher STEM Ambassadors program is part of STUDENT PARTNERS, an element of MMSI support that matches corporate volunteers with AP classes to explore STEM careers and college options.

Adds Shiraz Ladiwala, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s VP of Corporate Strategy and Development, “Like our colleagues working in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), we understand that our success lies in the innovation, skills, and talent of our employees, both today and tomorrow. This investment in our students, teachers, and schools, is a commitment not only to STEM education, but to the future of our region’s workforce.”

If you are interested in welcoming Student Partners from your local community into your classroom to inspire your AP students, please contact MMSI’s John Smolenski at 617-773-9375.

Meet Thermo Fisher Scientific’s STEM Ambassadors

Erica Hirsch: Work hard. Stay Organized. Manage your time. These certainties have helped drive Erica Hirsch’s career. Not surprisingly, she learned them as an Advanced Placement student in high school. Now a product manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific, she understands how her AP classes in chemistry, history, psychology, and calculus not only prepared her for college, but built a solid foundation for each step on her career ladder.

Kevin McCullough: Pushing yourself helps open doors, says Kevin McCullough, who enrolled in AP calculus, physics, and chemistry during high school. Although initially drawn to science after being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes in 5th grade, he wasn’t sure he’d pursue a career in STEM; but he quickly found that the skills he developed in his AP courses would provide lifelong benefit. Through hard work and determination in AP courses, Kevin developed time management and problem-solving skills, which helped him approach all challenges in his life – from math problems, to a health issue, to business projects.

Molly Regennitter: Analyzing any situation takes a keen mind, and it might be in the genes if you come from a background in science and engineering like Molly Regennitter. Taking AP Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Calculus help set the stage. For Molly, AP provided a foundational knowledge she continues to tap into as she transitions through the stages of her career. Whether it was a complex problem on an exam or now in the Strategy group at Thermo Fisher, the framework she applies is rooted in her AP experience.

Brad Foringer: Being the first in his family to go to college, Brad wasn’t sure the path he would travel, but he knew early on AP would provide the options he needed. With an interest in science, he was able to build a foundation in chemical engineering and use the broader skills he learned in AP to then focus his career on business in the sciences. Brad says AP made a difference in his life enabling him to work for a company that makes a difference in the lives of others.

Breanne Wagner: Not every student can jump from poetry to potions without batting an eye, but that range of interests helped shape Breanne’s future. She combined her love of the written word and her natural curiosity for scientific analysis to pursue a career in technical writing. According to Breanne, her experience in AP courses honed her academic strengths. Subjects that inspired her, teachers that motivated her, and possibilities that awaited her all added up to a career path that fulfills her desire to never stop learning and growing.

Lauren Lee: Not everyone knows what he or she wants to be before getting to college. And that was OK for Lauren Lee who once pictured herself in medicine, but knew no matter what, she needed to be challenged. That’s why she enrolled in AP history and biology where she surrounded herself with other motivated students. According to Lauren, being challenged in AP develops your intellect, shapes your opinions, and keeps you moving forward, regardless of the career choices you decide to pursue.