Marist School recognized Women’s History Month with two events organized by the Marist Alumni Association and the Office of Inclusion & Diversity. Both events highlighted women with unique and interesting career paths and featured presentations that were inspiring to the students and alumni in attendance.
On March 20, the Marist Alumni Association hosted its annual Alumni Women’s Luncheon. This year’s speaker was Jessica Betz Abel ’04, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. Specializing in objects conservation, Jessica found a way to combine her love of science and art into a career path that has taken her to the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She shared that her course work while at Marist helped her to build a framework for how to respectfully and ethically approach both work and life, a sentiment that she also conveyed to Marist students when she spoke to Mr. Thomas Marier’s archaeology class earlier in the year. Jessica finds herself continually amazed by the spiritual nature of the work that she does, as she seeks to preserve objects that represent a heritage and tradition of peoples from long ago.
Later the same week, on March 22, Marist’s annual Women’s Career Panel highlighted for students the work of women in STEM careers. Sarah Carr Evans ’93, Grace Helmer ’08, Lambda Msezane ’93, and Rosa Parés-García (mother of Daniela Garcia ’19) shared their experiences, stories, and encouragement with students and faculty.
While speaking from the distinct perspective of their respective fields of psychology, engineering technology, medicine, and environmental science, the panelists reflected on some of the differences and many of the commonalities in their career paths. Whether they had a clear sense early in their education of the work they wanted to do, or had to adjust expectations and make discoveries along the way, all affirmed the importance of being aware of one’s calling and using the gifts and talents one has been given.
In response to students’ questions, the panelists reflected on gender in STEM careers. Many shared their experiences of having been the only woman in a class or at the table at some point in their careers. While the discussion affirmed the need for and benefits of greater diversity in STEM fields, none of the panelists feel limited or defined by their gender. The panelists also shared the challenges of balancing work and family, reflecting on the importance of staying true to priorities, sharing responsibilities in family life, and finding joy on the journey.
Marist School is grateful to each of these women for volunteering time to share their stories with the Marist School community.
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