On June 24, Berkeley Lab’s K-12 Department hosted three speakers in the first session of their STEM Career Talks. Each themed session helps participants learn about the wide diversity of STEM professions. In the first session, K-12 STEM Education Program Director Faith Dukes talked with Laleh Coté, STEM Education Specialist, Workforce Development & Education, Berkeley Lab; Leah Kalish, Manager of Youth Engagement, California Academy of Sciences; and Ira Young, Director, SEED Scholars Honors Program, UC Berkeley. The conversation provided participants with an overview of several Bay Area internship programs, as well as advice from these subject-matter experts on how to make their participation in programs successful.
Coté talked about how programs like the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) help interns increase their professional confidence, learn more about working in a scientific profession, and formulate a career plan for the future. She also encouraged interns to talk to their mentors immediately about their mutual expectations during their internship. Ask, she said, and it’ll help set you up for success the rest of the term. She encouraged everyone to apply for internships, even if they didn’t see themselves reflected in traditional STEM fields. “I spend a lot of time talking with people to let them know that they do belong, no matter who they are,” Coté said. “You can create a pathway and you can find something that really suits you.”