Four Madeira alumnae returned to campus to participate in a panel on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) for the first Admissions Open House of the year.
The panel was comprised of Lena Badr ‘11, Kim Lytle ‘15, Jessica Knight ‘03, and Stephanie Volk ‘03. Each of them brought a unique perspective about their experiences at Madeira that led them to have a passion for and a career path in STEAM-related fields. Madeira's interdisciplinary STEAM program encourages students to engage in an iterative process of designing and making through creative, collaborative, and practical activities.
Each alumna spoke about how Madeira increased their knowledge of and excitement for the math and science fields.
“AP Calculus boosted my confidence so much,” Kim remarked. She continues, “That class in particular taught me that asking questions was a great thing to do. It also helped me realize that Madeira girls are special. I didn’t have a ton of confidence going into the class, but learning that it was perfectly acceptable to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes was a huge part of my growth.”
Jessica touched upon how, upon entering high school, she had always assumed her career path would end as a veterinarian. However, it was her ceramics teacher that expanded her horizons and stoked her passion for art. She learned that it was not only acceptable, but encouraged, to dabble in a variety of subjects in order to think about problem solving in a different way.
Lena regaled the audience with her unique senior year Co-Curriculum placement working with a Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist. Co-Curriculum is Madeira’s experiential internship program. Her internship advisor was in charge of the largest deer management program in the nation. “It was an interesting experience to see - a woman in that arena leading all men. I loved it. I loved being outside, I loved the work and I loved the confidence it gave me as a woman.”
When asked about how they grew the most at Madeira, the panelists were quick to point out confidence and a robust sense of self.
Jessica replied, “I look back at my senior yearbook at the page I got to design. I look at who I was when I was a Madeira senior and that girl had so much confidence. That’s who I want to be when I grow up.”
Lena echoed Jessica’s sentiments, “I was super shy when I came to Madeira. The school helped my confidence and sense of self immensely. You go to school here for four years and are part of a community that tells you that you’re smart, that you can do anything and you really believe it. It really prepares you not only for college, but for the real world as well.”
The panelists credit Madeira with inspiring them to excel in the fields of math and science. Their high school experiences prepared them well for college and steered them towards their current career paths.
The next Admissions Open House is on Sunday, November 12.
Lena Badr ‘11 majored in biomedical engineering and physics at the University of Virginia. She now works for Deloitte Consulting as a technology consultant.
Kim Lytle ‘15 is a junior at the University of Virginia majoring in Electrical Engineering.
Jessica Knight ‘03 graduated from William and Mary with a major in English and a minor in art history. She now works for the Holocaust Museum in digital preservation.
Stephanie Volk ‘03 graduated from Lafayette College with a major in mechanical engineering and works for K2M, a company that finds solutions for spinal issues.