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Westminster women mentor local high school girls

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Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. — Hoping to inspire and educate, two Westminster College women shared their career and educational journeys with area high school girls.

Krislina Mercer, a senior public relations major from Petersburg, Virginia, and Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry and director of the Center for the Environment at Westminster College, participated in “A GEM Affair: Girls Engaging Mentors.” In its eighth year, A GEM Affair—organized by the Lawrence County School-to-Work program—presents high school girls from Lawrence County with non-traditional careers and to have the girls interact with women in those career paths.

More than 150 ninth-graders from 10 Lawrence County schools participated in the program in which they interacted with women from the community who represent careers such as traffic control, metallurgy, law enforcement and water quality.

The high school students rotated through seven different 20-minute sessions. For their session, Mercer and Boylan focused on the transition after high school rather than a particular career path, emphasizing the fact that the journey can change and that there isn’t one correct pathway to a successful career.

“To have the experience to present to the ninth grade girls in Lawrence County about the transition from high school to college filled me with much gratitude, especially since I used my personal experience to connect with the girls,” said Mercer.  “Being around the other successful women that presented gave me inspiration for my career as well.”

“Krislina was a great role model for the girls,” said Boylan. “She shared her personal college transition stories which including changing majors and persisting through a difficult first semester. Krislina also used her background in public relations to provide some excellent advice to the girls about careful use of social media.”

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

The event was held on Dec. 17, 2019, at BC3 Lawrence Crossings. For more information about the event, please contact Dr. Boylan at or 724-946-6293.