The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) hosted 70 local high school students and their teachers for Career Day, which took place on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Students and teachers enjoyed tours of MPFI facilities, a luncheon with scientists, and an interactive question and answer session. The 2018 panelists were Dr. Lesly Colgan, Dr. Michael Yetman, and Kate Maximov. The discussion was facilitated by Dr. Madineh Sarvestani.

“Career Day” is an annual event that gives high school students the opportunity to meet and interact with Max Planck scientists. Panelists traditionally include scientists who are in different stages of their training, from post-baccalaureate students to postdoctoral fellows. 2018’s Career Panel discussion explored many topics, including what inspired the scientists to choose a career in science, overcoming the challenges of being a woman in science, and what educational and research experiences got the researchers to the place that they are today.

The feedback from both teachers and students was overwhelmingly positive. “It was an amazing experience I won’t forget as I move on in life. Hopefully, I’ll be back someday,” said Doris Yang, a student from Jupiter High School. Her teacher Shari Rogers, added, “Thank you for your amazing community outreach!”

To participate in career day, teachers had to submit an application explaining how their students would benefit from the experience. Once selected, each school could choose ten students to attend. The schools and teachers selected for 2018 included: Steven Weber and Tamica Williams, Village Academy; Mary Paramore, Marie Dupuy and Dr. Robert Grassemi, Inlet Groove High School; Shari Rodgers, Jupiter High School; Melinda Ogden, Atlantic Community High School; Marilyn Budensiek, Hobe Sound Christian Academy; Renee Szeliga, Benjamin School; Mira Dohnd, the Conservatory School of North Palm Beach; and Ofelia Barletta Chacon, Palm Beach Gardens High School.

This year’s Career Day was held as a satellite event of the international Max Planck Society’s “Max Planck Day,” which is recognized throughout Germany in 2018 as a way to mark jubilee celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Max Planck’s Nobel prize for physics, the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Max Planck Society, and Max Planck’s 160th birthday.

The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), a not-for-profit research organization, is part of the world-renowned Max Planck Society, Germany’s most successful research organization with over 80 institutes worldwide. Since its establishment in 1948, 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists. As its first U.S. institution, MPFI brings together exceptional neuroscientists from around the world to answer fundamental questions about brain development and function and to develop new technologies that make groundbreaking scientific discoveries possible. Their research is shared publicly with scholars, universities and other organizations around the globe, providing the necessary foundation of knowledge to develop treatments and cures for brain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For more information, visit

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