One of the advantages of pivoting our program to online, is that we have been able to spend more time focusing on job search skills with our trainees. A key skill for job exploration is networking and learning from people at work about what is entailed in a particular job. To help our trainees gain experience in conducting informational interviews, 25 Regeneron Pharmaceutical employees volunteered to participate in two workshops where trainees would be paired with an employee and practice interviews.
To prepare, our trainees learned about networking strategies and created their Linked In profiles. They researched Regeneron and the employees that they would be matched with for their one-on-one interviews. And then they prepared a list of relevant interview questions. On October 27 and 29, the trainees met for the first time with the volunteers on Zoom. After the interview sessions the trainees sent follow up emails. This was a big stretch for most of our trainees, yet each one proved her capacity, her resilience and her interest in learning about the world of work.
Selina joined the Yes She Can program just a week prior to the scheduled informational interviews. She did not have the opportunity of several weeks of preparation, yet, despite her initial hesitation, she rose to the occasion.
“I am an enthusiastic young woman and would like to learn about how to make money. I am very smart, beautiful, happy and I am highly confident in myself,” says Selina
“I knew I could do the interview even though I started [with Yes She Can] just a week before the scheduled interviews. I was straight forward in the interview. I felt the interview went pretty good and I got to learn about what Regeneron does. I think it is great that women are hired at Regeneron and that more women will be employed in the sciences in the future. Kim and I talked about how women will help to find ways to cure dreaded diseases like Covid or even worse. I had a good time meeting with Kimberly and liked talking about the future and the technology that might be involved in it. Kim talked about how important it is to ask questions and to speak up, especially as a woman.”
Colleen also participated with a volunteer and was delighted to learn that there are many women working at Regeneron. This made Colleen reflect on the progress women have made in being included in science. As a fan of American Girl, Colleen shares a historical perspective about women in science through the American Girl stories.
Colleen related to the message of self-advocacy and spoke about various female scientists that she knew of including Marie Curie. She also noted that stories about women in science were included in the American Girl books.
“Girls have always struggled to make it in the scientific field, even in recent days,” reports Colleen. “Maryellen Larkin, the American Girl historic character from 1954, was excited to join the Science Club and enter the contest to build a flying machine. But when she joined the meeting, things don’t go quite the way she expected. She’s the only girl in the club, which wouldn’t be a problem, except the other members treat her as if she doesn’t belong. They ignore her and shoot down any ideas she suggests, for the simple reason of ‘you’re just a girl’. It gets so bad that Maryellen ends up quitting the club. But she soon shows those stuck-up boys just what she’s made of when she forms her own team—with boys AND girls—and wows the crowd at the contest with their invention, made from teamwork and outside-the-box-thinking.”
Without a doubt, the trainees at Yes She Can exhibited remarkable perseverance to learn the skills they needed to be successful at this project. And like female scientists before them, our trainees have surely shown their grit, their creativity and their Yes She Can attitude.