Recently, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) helped to mold the minds of students interested in a career in science by hosting the sixth annual Science Career Panel. The event allowed students from eight middle schools and eight high schools in Palm Beach County an opportunity to meet and interact with Max Planck scientists. Students were given the opportunity to hear from scientists who are in various stages of training, from undergraduate interns to senior scientists, with the goal of peaking an interest in a science career. The day included a tour of a laboratory, lunch with MPFI scientists, and a panel discussion.
All Palm Beach County Middle and High School teachers were invited to apply to attend, but due to limited space, only 16 schools were selected based on answers to the application question, “How will your students benefit from learning more about careers in science?”
For Carla Case-Sweeney, a teacher from Santaluces High School, that question was easy. “I am always trying to expose my students to experiences such as this. Being a part of this makes me even more motivated to seek out experiences like this for my students,” Case-Sweeney stated following the panel.
Other teachers expressed similar views. Audra Davis, from Wellington Community High School, applied to attend to allow her students the opportunity to interact with scientists, but she found it personally rewarding as well. “It allowed me to see purpose in what I do,” said Davis.
Thanks to the panel, students could hear directly from scientists about why they chose a career in science, and what steps led them to where they are today.
Stephanie Bie, a senior at Atlantic Community High School, said that this experience has broadened her perspective on neuroscience and inspired her to pursue a career in research. When asked why he wanted to attend MPFI’s Science Career Panel this year, Bryan Cruz, a junior from Wellington Community High School, answered, “I always like to get my information from someone who has gone through what I’m trying to do.”
This is the sixth installment of MPFI’s Science Career Panel and plans are already in development for next year’s event because of the impact it continues to make. Marie Pantel, a senior from Village Academy may have summed it up best: “This was great and really enjoyable. It really opened a whole new world to me.”