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Westminster student, professor participate in mentor program

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Posted on Friday, December 18, 2020

Career paths don’t always run in straight lines and two women from Westminster College—student Shaemour Young and professor Dr. Helen Boylan—emphasized that to local high school students during a virtual “A GEM Affair: Girls Engaging Mentors” event on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Coordinated by the Lawrence County School-to-Work Program, GEM’s mission is to inspire young girls to pursue careers in STEM fields or other non-traditional pathways. More than 70 ninth-graders from 10 Lawrence County schools participated in the program and had the opportunity interact with successful women from varying careers and fields such as environmental health and safety, quality engineering, environmental education, accounting and pharmacy.

Young and Boylan, professor of chemistry and director of Westminster’s Center for the Environment, focused on the transition after high school rather than a particular career track, pointing out that one’s trajectory can change and there isn’t always a singular correct path.

“I did this event because I thought it would be nice to do for the younger girls before it comes to a time and they are in my shoes,” said Young, a junior public communication and leadership major from Duquesne, Pa. “It helps give younger students an idea of what to prepare for in college.”

“Shaemour is a great role model for girls as a leader on Westminster’s campus, with significant roles in Student Government Association, ALLIES and Black Student Union,” said Boylan. “She talked about putting her communications education into practice as a features writer for the student newspaper, The Holcad.”

Due to pandemic restrictions, the ninth annual GEM Affair was held virtually through Google Meet. Twenty-minute sessions were held for mentors and students to interact.

Boylan joined the Westminster faculty in 2001. She earned her undergraduate degree from Westminster and her Ph.D. from Duquesne University.

For more information, please contact Boylan at 724-946-6293 or