STEM Talks launches at Monterey Peninsula College – Monterey Herald

MONTEREY — A new speaker series focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers will launch this month at Monterey Peninsula College.

The series was made possible by a $4 million Department of Education grant focused on increasing opportunities, success and transfer rates for underrepresented students studying science or education.

“We are thrilled for our diverse students to experience a variety of speakers, all people who look like them and have achieved success,” said Dr. Leila Jewell, coordinator of the talks, physics instructor and faculty adviser to the Women in STEM club. “STEM Talks is an exciting new chapter for MPC!”

The grant comes from the Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM and Articulation Program, which provides grants to assist Hispanic-Serving Institutions in increasing the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The grant money will also go toward other initiatives aimed at increasing representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the college. In the fall, the college will offer statistics, calculus and pre-calculus classes in a bilingual Spanish/English format. Bilingual tutors will also be placed in challenging STEM courses to serve as mentors to aspiring students. Monterey Peninsula College is also working on developing contacts within the community to provide paid internships for underrepresented students.

Research from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics shows that Hispanic or Latino workers make up 18% of the U.S. workforce but represent 14% of STEM workers, and Black workers make up 12% of the U.S. working population but represent only 9% of STEM workers.

Dr. Nicole Madfis will be the first to present in a four-year series of STEM Talks on April 29 at noon. In her talk titled “The Only One in the Room,” she will discuss the challenges she faced and opportunities she found as a minority woman in STEM. Madfis, a scientific brand manager for Audacity Health, said that she takes pride in guiding students and community members toward achieving their goals in return for the support she received.

The speaker series is free and open to the community. Those interested can attend on the Monterey campus or virtually on Zoom. For more information about the series and Madfis’ presentation, visit