Celebrating Women in STEM: PEER WISE Connections March Recap

April 17, 2024

By: Beth Anne Johnson

Setting the Stage

The stage was set, the energy palpable, and Freeman Hall transformed into a hub of inspiration and celebration for an unforgettable Women’s History Month event. On a balmy March evening, CECAS students gathered to witness the brilliance of three remarkable WISE alumni: Sarah Baum, Dajonia Jackson, and Kasey Kilgore. From medical school to consulting and industry, their journeys illuminated the path for future generations of aspiring women in STEM.

Experience the Stories

Each panelist brought a unique perspective and a wealth of experience to the table, offering insights that resonated deeply with the audience. Reflecting on her undergraduate experience and the role of PEER WISE, Sarah Baum shared, “PEER WISE was more than just a program; it was a community of support and empowerment. I made lifelong connections and found mentors who guided me through challenges and triumphs.”

Dajonia Jackson echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of community and mentorship during the formative years of one’s academic journey. “As women in STEM, we often face unique obstacles, but having a support system like PEER WISE made all the difference. It’s where I built the foundation of building myself back up and discovered the power of collaboration.”

Lessons Learned and Words of Wisdom

Kasey Kilgore offered a candid perspective when asked what they wished they had done more or less of during their undergraduate years. “I wish I had taken more risks and embraced failure as part of the learning process. It’s easy to get caught up in perfectionism, but true growth happens when we step out of our comfort zones, so my advice is to go explore. Find and discover your passions.”

As the conversation delved into the impact of mentorship on professional development, Sarah Baum shared a valuable insight. “My mentorship role not only shaped my approach to leadership but also taught me the importance of intentional listening. As future leaders, it’s our responsibility to uplift and empower the next generation, and one of the best ways to do that is thoughtfully listening to others.”

Advice for Future Trailblazers

In closing, the panelists offered encouragement and advice to current undergraduate students embarking on their own STEM journeys. Dajonia Jackson emphasized the power of resilience, stating, “Don’t let setbacks define you. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow stronger and more resilient.”

Kasey Kilgore urged students to embrace their unique strengths and passions. “Your journey may not look like anyone else’s, and that’s okay. Embrace your authenticity and let your passion guide you.”

Sarah Baum echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and self-belief. “Believe in yourself and your abilities. You can achieve greatness, and the world needs your unique perspective and contributions.”

Celebrating Women Making Waves

“Sarah, Dajonia and Kasey are tremendous examples of talent in our PEER WISE family. From mentees to mentors, these women are phenomenal leaders. It is a tremendous privilege to see them thriving in their careers,” shares Serita Acker, Executive Director of PEER WISE.

The PEER WISE Connections March event was more than just a celebration of Women’s History Month; it was a testament to the power of community, mentorship, and resilience. As we reflect on the wisdom shared by Sarah Baum, Dajonia Jackson, and Kasey Kilgore, let us remember their words as we forge our paths in STEM. Together, we can break barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and inspire the next generation of trailblazing women in STEM.