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Recently, more than 20 Astellas volunteers shared their stories of exploring careers in the science industry with 50 high school freshmen from Buffalo Grove High School as part of a day full of activities to help the students plan for future careers in STEM. The students were able to interact with and learn from Astellas employees as part of a broader, locally-sponsored annual science education initiative designed to connect Illinois-based corporations in the science and technology fields with schools seeking to expand their STEM curricula.
In 2018, the Astellas USA Foundation (“Foundation”), now known as the Astellas Global Health Foundation, provided a grant to the Illinois Science and Technology Institute (ISTI) to support the ISTI STEM Challenge Program. The grant allowed Astellas “Science WoRx” mentors to meet with students from a freshman biology class at Buffalo Grove High School on an ongoing basis to coach them along the way to solving one of several problem statements posed as part of the Challenge. Starting at the beginning of this year, the students from Buffalo Grove began to work in small groups to try to solve a real-world problem related to aiding allergy prevention or advancing cell therapy for eye diseases. As part of the process, the students had to research the various diseases, as well as the patient journeys of people living with one of these diseases, to help them define and develop innovative solutions to aid the patient experience.
On April 15, the students had the opportunity to share what they learned with Astellas employees at the company’s campus in Northbrook, where the students presented their final projects and solutions to the real-world situations people with allergies and eye diseases face. The students also met with a cross-functional team of volunteers during a business lunch and heard from several Astellas leaders as part of a career panel on pursuing careers in the STEM field.
Astellas employees then provided feedback to the students on their presentations and based on overall scoring, one student group, team “Epi-Angel”, was selected to represent the Foundation and Buffalo Grove High School amongst other high schools from the state of Illinois as part of a student showcase at Google’s campus in downtown Chicago on April 26.
“It was an inspiration to watch these students grow and develop together,” said Paige Fullhart, Biology Teacher, Buffalo Grove High School. “Team “Epi-Angel” worked together for the first time to solve a problem that they did not think they could solve. After this experience, each student walked away knowing that if they want something, they can do it with hard work.”
“It was an honor to watch the students grow and develop through the course of this project,” said Stephanie Keyes, Associate Business Analytics Manager and Astellas Science WoRx mentor. “While the students were on point to solve the problem and presenting to the audience, the Astellas team learned so much about team work and collaboration from the students.”
To learn more about volunteerism and other corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) initiatives at Astellas, see the Astellas Americas CSR Report Card.
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