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Episode 36: Pioneer Valley Women in STEM Part 1

Her Stem Story

Release Date: 11/21/2018



Organizers: Melissa Paculli, Michelle Rame (HCC); Beth McGinns-Cavanaugh (STCC), Alysha Putnam (GCC); Constance West & Liliana Lagsklodowska (BCC) and Dan Montagna & Yarida Cruz (UMass Center of Springfield).

This is part 1 of this 2 part series of our live recording at the #MYSTEMSTORY at UMass Centre of Springfield, which was a part of the #MASSSTEMWEEK celebrations.

The STEM Starter Academies at Holyoke, Springfield Technical, Berkshire, and Greenfield community colleges, along with the Society of Women Engineers affiliate at STCC, sponsored the networking workshop called #MySTEMStory. Organizers want to build a network for Pioneer Valley women in STEM. The Oct. 24 gathering featured a panel discussion and Q&A was led by us.

The discussion covers how community colleges are working on bridging the gap in STEM fields by making education more affordable, accessible and creating a community to help women students. We also discuss what inspired the panelists to choose STEM. 


1) Carlo Velez Garcia - Originally from Cialis, Puerto Rico. She is a mother and alumni of HCC and Smith College. She has a Masters of Science and now works as a science teacher at Van Sickle Middle School, Springfield. 

2) Michelle Rame -  A non-traditional student, she started school 6 years out of high school after working in the non-profit world. She is an HCC/NSF scholar alumni and is currently a Senior Civil Engineering Student at Western New England University. She is a STEM Ambassador at HCC. She also spent 4 months in China, building a house in China's 2018 SoDecathlonalon. 

3) Mary Berrio - Mary was born in Cali, Colombia and came to the US in 2009. She is the first generation to obtain a higher education degree in her family. She is both a Berkshire Community College and UMass Amherst Alumni and she received her Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. She currently works as the systems engineer for the Littoral Combat Ship ( LCS). She also actively participates in the local Society of Haspanic Professional Engineers.