When Maura Smith-Stein, STEM Success Coach at Cape Cod Community College, hosted a mock interview event in the fall, she noticed that not everyone was dressed appropriately. In response, Maura decided to host a blazer drive to decrease students’ barriers to career preparedness.
Thus was born the “The Blaze a Path To Success” Event. The event took place on February 27th and connected STEM Starter students to job interview attire. In addition to getting students blazers, the event provided a platform for students to meet other STEM students and discuss careers.
STEM students at 4Cs participated in the Blazer Drive and received blazers for interviews.
Maura stresses that even in remote interviews, interviewees should wear blazers and present themselves appropriately. Maura asked faculty and staff at Cape Cod Community College to donate blazers. As a result, many professors donated blazers to the event, as well as Maura herself.
Maura joined STEM Starter Academy as a Success Coach last July to continue her passion for working with students, combining her skills in mediation and vocational work. Maura makes it her goal to help students on their next steps and pathways for their careers. The STEM Starter Academy (SSA) is a program at Cape Cod Community College that helps students navigate their pathway in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Ericson Bonilla wears the blazer he found at the "Blaze A Path to Success" event.
Maya Kapuscinski, a Computer Science student at Cape Cod Community College, spoke highly of the event; she said,“I think the event in general, getting the blazer, and talking to other STEM students is really important because I got to reach out and talk to more people who shared common interests with me.” Maya mentioned that the event helped her broaden her social skills and helped her interact with others in a “different and positive way.” Maya believed that the event “brought the community together” and helped her get on the STEM track.
Everyone that signed up for the event received a blazer that they liked and that fit them. Maura even followed up with students who couldn’t attend the event to ensure that they ended up with a blazer that suited them. Furthermore, the extra blazers left over from the event were donated to the Riverview School Second View Thrift Shop in East Sandwich.
Maria Tonial, a Chemistry student, in the blazer she was given at the "Blaze A Path to Success" event.
Joseph Pabroa, a Mechanical Engineer student at Cape Cod Community College agreed that the Blazer Event was a “good way to help people get attire for job interviews and a leg-up by not having to spend their own money, lessening the financial burden on students” and believed that the event will be beneficial in the future when making connections and networking within his field.
Shayla Flaherty, an Environmental Technology student, in a blazer she was given from the rack of blazers at the event.
The SSA team provides support, guidance, and opportunities including career panels, transfer trips, and career preparation to make sure that students experience success that leads to a rewarding future. To learn more about the STEM Starter Academy here.
By Shayla Flaherty