Fem in STEM features five female professors

Ramapo’s Chemistry Club hosted their Fem in STEM event that took place on Feb. 29, to kick off Women’s History Month here on campus. The event featured a panel of five professors including Dr. Susan Petro, Dr. Kokila Kota, Dr. Daniela Buna, Dr. Debbie Yuster and LaQuan Norman.

The event included a panel-led discussion along with games like chemistry bingo, enormous Jenga, chemistry trivia and an invented password game constructed by the Google Development Student Club. Before starting the professor’s introductions, Italian food was served to students and the panelists to encourage discussion about the event and life in STEM.

Students were invited to ask questions of panelists such as how they got into the industry, what their work is and if there were any societal setbacks due to their gender. Insights from panelists were shared with students and included personal stories of their own.

Kota shared one of the many experiences that she has had throughout her career. She shares that she has long struggled with the balance of being a woman who is also an Indian immigrant in such a male-dominated industry. Kota shares that she was in the time and place where women especially in foreign countries were excluded from “big boy jobs,” such as learning in the STEM field, and that it was difficult to overcome such obstacles.

The panel led into a conversation of role models inviting students to talk about their own while also listening to those of the panelists. The professors all shared the same answer: their mom, which rendered everyone in awe. All the panelists shared how much their mothers have adhered to their passions and have been able to witness their daughters make their dreams come true. It provided the audience something to be grateful for, whether their role model is their mother or another figure.

To end off the night, co-presidents of the Chemistry Club, Evelyn Voitsekhovich and Cookie Wahba, asked the panelists to share words of wisdom and guidance with the students. One word of advice from the panelists is “Young women should not be afraid to ask for help. Whether it be from a professor, parent, guardian, fellow classmate.” They said that students should take each and every opportunity to seek help.

Ramapo’s Women History Month is just starting up with this being their first formal event for the month. Look out for more events from clubs and organizations throughout Women’s History Month.




Featured photo courtesy Polina Tankilevitch, Pexels