STEM takes center stage at FAMU

Florida A&M University’s College of Science and Technology will be hosting a STEM student seminar series geared toward preparing students for opportunities in math and science.

 “We are trying to introduce them to the field so when they enroll in these classes they will know what type of construction or tests they will be doing for example,” said Doreen Kobelo, an associate professor.

The program, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24, is not just for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students, she said. Everyone is encouraged to attend and learn that they have something to contribute to the field. “There are a lot of arts involved in the STEM fields,” Kobelo said. “From the point where you have an idea to the actual construction, there are a lot of other professions that are involved that aren’t directly related to STEM but are still needed.”

Tasha R. Inniss, the director of education and Industry outreach for the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, will be a guest presenter and will be speaking about her experience in the mathematics industry. Inniss and two other women were the first African-American women to receive the Ph.D. in mathematics from University at Buffalo in New York, according to Inniss, whose thesis title is Distributed Stochastic Models for the Estimation of Airport Arrival Capacity Distributions, was highly motivated by her mother, who teaches sociology at FAMU. She encouraged her belief in the value of education.

Tarah A. Word, a post-doctoral associate at Baylor College of Medicine Molecular Physiology, is another guest presenter who will be offering advice on how to survive in the scientific professional workforce.

“I will be looking forward to learning how to get a job,” said Robert Brown, an electronic engineering and technology student from Freeport, Bahamas. “That’s the most difficult thing as an international student, because there are not that many jobs available for us.

“That would be of great help if they could steer us in that direction to say ‘hey this is a company that does hire international students and this is how you can go about getting that job.’”  

According to the PEW Research Center, a growing number of high-skilled foreign workers find jobs in the United States under a program known as Optional Practical Training, which allows foreign graduates from U.S. universities to work in the country on a temporary basis. However, STEM students have an option to work longer in America. “Foreign students majoring in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field may work in the U.S. for longer – up to 36 months.” OPT is not applicable to students with an F-1 Visa which are by far “the most common form of international student visa’s” according to

“I expect to learn the skills that it takes to be competitive,” said Leslie Jackson a Bioengineering major from West Palm Beach, Fl “I want to learn things like resume building and learning how to identify and critique my personal skills that would present me in a way to be chosen over my competitors,” Jackson continued.

The S.T.E.M. Student Seminar series will be held in Jones Hall, room 109 on Saturday, March 24 from 10am-12pm. Refreshments will be served.