WISE Student Highlight
In fall 2018 and spring 2020, Baltimore City College high school student Abisola took part in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program, a research program that offers an opportunity to young motivated high school students in Baltimore City to explore and develop skills in STEM that might otherwise not be available to them. Young women can utilize their experiences when entering into STEM fields and make them more confident and competitive applicants for future research experiences or internships.
“Participating in WISE helped me build confidence that STEM is a place where I can succeed,” says Abisola. “The memory that stands out most was the final presentation that I did near the end of the program. It was an opportunity for me to illustrate how much I learned from being mentored by a STEM professional. Through that presentation I saw that I was capable of taking concepts that people who actually work in STEM use and have an understanding of them. Being able to do that made me believe that I was someone who could eventually work in STEM.”
The participants are mentored by JHU professors, postocs, and/or graduate students. Mentors serve to not only mentor the student through their research, but provide guidance on life in STEM—the college application process, how to reach out to faculty to participate in research, and STEM career options post graduation. In addition, Abisola shouts out the Center for Educational Outreach’s WISE admin, Ruby Holder, as a helpful guide — ”She was there for any questions or concerns I had in the program. She worked really hard at making sure that I felt comfortable while I was there and helped me through any anxiety I had about being a high school student working on a higher level STEM project.”
Abisola was recently accepted to Johns Hopkins University as a Baltimore Scholar! The Baltimore Scholars Program is a financial aid program that recognizes high-achieving Baltimore City public school students, covering the cost of attendance while also providing opportunities such as mentoring, internships, and professional development opportunities. The Baltimore Scholars Program is a reflection of the JHU’s long-standing investment in the students of Baltimore and its public school system and recognizes the best and brightest students from the community.
“I am so excited about attending college,” says Abisola. “I really look forward to continuing to explore opportunities in STEM and also learning more about my field.”
Abisola credits WISE with helping her college application and decision process. “WISE was really helpful in my college application process because I felt that it gave me something to put on my application that made me stand out from other applicants,” explains Abisola. “because of the connection I had with my mentor [through WISE], I was able to ask for a recommendation that I think was helpful.”
The program has also influenced her career goals— “I was introduced to interdisciplinary fields in STEM. I initially saw STEM careers as fields where you only focused on one concentration only. However, doing computational biology at WISE allowed me to see that often two or more fields of study can intersect because I saw biology and computer science working together. Gaining that understanding made me want to work in a field that was interdisciplinary.”
To anyone that is considering studying in STEM or participating in WISE, Abisola encourages it. In fact, she has suggested the program to fellow high school students. “If you are interested in STEM, then WISE is an opportunity to really see how people work in STEM,” she says. “If you enjoy learning and STEM, then this is the program for you because I learned so much that I would not have in a traditional classroom.”