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Class of 2022: Sowing the Seeds of STEM

May 27, 2022

WPI’s  STEM Education Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and as we approach Commencement, it's clear that some important seeds–planted years ago–have taken root and are blooming in some important ways. Three members of the Class of 2022, who've already made a big impact in K-12 classrooms in Worcester, will leave the university well prepared to continue inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders.

“Our undergraduate Teacher Preparation Program intentionally places most of our teacher candidates in the Worcester Public Schools, and we are seeing the positive results with those high school students," said Kathy Chen, Director of WPI’s STEM Education Center. "Likewise, the Women’s Research and Mentorship Program (WRAMP) has reached many Worcester high school alumni who are current WPI students. It’s great to see how all these programs have become intertwined, and how WPI has partnered with the Worcester community.

Em Beeler '22 (Teacher Preparation Program/Math) did student teaching at Doherty High School in Worcester, where Beeler was a student several years ago. The experience leading Algebra and Pre-Calculus classes confirmed a desire to teach in a Worcester Public School. Beeler is one of the first Noyce scholars, a program to support WPI students majoring in science, mathematics, and engineering who want to pursue a career in teaching.

"Through the Teacher Preparation Program and the STEM Education Center, I was able to participate in exciting K-12 outreach activities throughout my undergrad experience,” said Beeler. “I’m grateful for the STEM Education Center because it allowed me to meet other students who were planning on going into education after college—it made me feel more confident in my career choice."

Mahvash Jebeli '22 (BME PhD), a three-time WRAMP mentor, has inspired two high school students from Worcester Public Schools to attend WPI. They are now members of the Class of 2025 and Great Minds CoMPASS scholars, a WPI initiative designed to meet the full demonstrated financial need, up to the cost of tuition and fees, of selected Pell-eligible students enrolled in the Worcester Public Schools who are interested in attending WPI.

Jebeli says, “This program helped me gain experience with teaching and mentorship that was not feasible to achieve any other way. Working with bright high school women helped me understand the value of giving back to our scientific society. Two of my high school students were accepted into our undergraduate biomedical engineering program, and I foresee a bright future for both of them.”

Maiya Mitchell '20 (Teacher Prep/ME), '22 (FPE grad student) was a student teacher at Worcester Technical High School and inspired one of her high school students to follow in her footsteps. That student, Genesis Bernabel, is now a Great Minds CoMPASS scholar and Noyce scholar in the Teacher Preparation program.