On Saturday November 16, participants of the first ever Maryland Leaders on Fast Track (LOFT) symposium gathered at Johns Hopkins University in Rockville to explore STEM careers. The event, hosted by MdBio Foundation and Hispanic Heritage Foundation, drew over 150 participants from Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.
The symposium brought together a diverse student body from local high schools and colleges; over 90 percent of students were minorities and more than half were female. The event also attracted numerous community leaders, including Congressman John Delaney, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro, and Montgomery County Executive, Ike Leggett who was awarded the ‘Maryland STEM Education Leader Award’ at the event.
LOFT participants spent the afternoon networking with dozens of graduate students, professionals and representatives from a variety of STEM fields ranging from molecular medicine to engineering to biochemistry. Throughout the four-hour event, these mentors spoke to students about their backgrounds, distributed information about internships, and shared advice about how to succeed in STEM fields. These types of conversations and experiences can help prepare students for work in STEM fields and encourage them to further pursue their interests in this profitable career path.
We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from LOFT attendees, and we hope to continue providing these types of unique opportunities for Maryland students. We are currently planning to hold our second LOFT event in Baltimore in the spring. Check out our website in January for information about this upcoming LOFT event.