CIJE Presents at the Third Annual STEAMTalks at Ma’ayanot

Third Annual STEAMTalks at Ma’ayanot Are Energizing and Electrifying

Ma’ayanot’s third annual STEAMTalks took off with energy and excitement on Thursday, December 7. This program brings together highly successful women in diverse STEAM careers to present their journeys. I look forward to STEAMTalks every year since it’s refreshing to hear the journeys of these amazing women who excel in the STEAM fields, especially hearing how they started out and what opportunities will be available for us when we enter the workforce.

The program kicked off with Rachel Book, director of diversity recruiting strategies at Fidelity Investments. She spoke about the opportunities and demand for women in STEAM careers. “So many STEAM careers require art and creativity,” she said.

Dr. Duncan Bell, a robotics engineer and mentor for the Ma’ayanot STEAM team, showed the students his programmable spotlight creation, which he explained can be used to help people produce low-budget plays. Kelsey Dunn, product owner at Paradigm Solutions, shared the excitement of being a product manager at a startup company.

Judy Leibowitz, director of education at CIJE, spoke about the collaboration and problem-solving skills students are gaining by taking STEAM courses. She told students,“Believe in yourself. If you fail, try again. You can do anything you want to if you try hard enough.” Next, Dr. Jessica Langer, a lead researcher at L’Oreal, spoke about her research on chemical reactions in skin and encouraged students to be open to possibilities.

Tali Cheses spoke about how all aspects of STEAM are incorporated in her role as an architect at Gensler Architects. Cheses’s favorite quote is: “Great things never came from comfort zones.” Next we heard from Wendy Feldstein King, an industrial designer who described her childhood fascination with tinkering with wood, hammers and drills. She eventually joined her father’s company, Crestron Electronics, and is now VP of Design. She told the students, “Whenever you have the chance to learn a skill, take the opportunity. It will serve you well.”

Finally, Shira Rubinoff, a cybersecurity executive and president of SecureMySocial and Prime Tech Partners, spoke about the shortage of women in the field of internet security and about issues relating to social media. It was important for students to hear from a professional about how their activity on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook can impact college and job applications. Rubinoff added that only 11% of women make up today’s workforce in information technology and that there are many opportunities for women in that field.

The program also included a student panel on internships and summer programs in the STEAM field. Senior Atara Neugroschl studied osteoarthritis treatments at the Rutgers University biomedical engineering department; Senior Miri Cohen participated in a cancer research program at the Cancer institute of New Jersey at the BOLD (Rutgers) programs; Sophomore Meital Fuksbrumer attended the three-week Columbia summer program Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers, or SHAPE; Sophomore Hadassah Freedman attended NYU’s iTEST and learned robotics. Fuksbrumer and Freedman said that when asked if anyone knew how to code, they were able to display their talents because of the Ma’ayanot STEAM curriculum.

I already can’t wait for STEAMTalks next year to hear more about opportunities available for me and to continue to advance in STEAM. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to speak at STEAMTalks myself and inspire others about my journey.