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Scientific Impact: Mentoring Inspires

January is National Mentoring Month, but some seek STEM-focused learning year-round.

Raisa Sabiha pictured at a STEM mentoring event

Raisa Sabiha, a student with Young Men and Women in Charge participates in a workshop session at CSL Behring’s offices in King of Prussia, Pa. Young Men and Women in Charge fosters STEM-focused mentoring relationships between students and professionals at companies like CSL Behring.


Raisa Sabiha sees herself as a responsible person and after speaking with some newfound mentors, the high school student wants the rest of the world to see her that way too.

The personality trait the 16-year-old says defines her will be a strong selling point as the she navigates the complex and confusing web of roads and detours that will take her through school and eventually into the job market.

But a selling point is only useful if you know how, when and why to use it. Raisa wasn’t aware of the importance of a personal brand until she heard it from mentors from CSL Behring at workshop at the global biotech company’s offices outside Philadelphia. The mentoring session was part of an ongoing collaboration between CSL Behring and Young Men and Women in Charge (YMWIC), a program focused on getting young people from the Philadelphia area interested in working in the so-called STEM fields; science, technology, engineering and math.

“The students are highly academic, interested in science, engineering and medicine,” said Dr. Pamela Thorpe, a Director and Clinical Safety Physician with CSL Behring, who spoke to students at the workshop. “We thought it would be a good opportunity for them to learn about resume writing, interviewing, but most importantly learn how to sell their own brand.”

YMWIC is the brainchild of Richard Roberts III, an electrical engineer who wanted to give students a first-hand look at the type of exciting career he enjoyed. Roberts traveled the world working on engaging projects for major corporations, an experience only made possible through a strong interest and education in fields like math and science.

Visiting with employees at companies like CSL Behring allows YMWIC Scholars to say to themselves, “maybe I can do this,” Roberts said.

Through CSL Behring’s partnership with YMWIC, students have explored fields such as analytics, computer science and robotics. YMWIC Scholars also get a first-hand look at medical careers by touring CSL facilities such as a plasma donation center.

CSL Behring’s commitment to fostering young people with an interest in pursuing STEM careers extends across the globe. Every year, dozens of students visit one of CSL’s manufacturing sites as part of a partnership with Australia’s National Youth Science Forum. CSL Behring’s facility in Marburg, Germany, is an active participant in a joint program with local universities to bring women studying in STEM fields into the workplace.

The programs not only a way to give back to the community, but a chance to make an early investment in students that Thorpe sees as future “movers and shakers” among science and medical professionals.

“That’s really what the model is all about, creating a pipeline for future STEM professionals,” Roberts said during the personal branding workshop.

After getting an inside look at the pathway to a rewarding STEM career, Raisa hopes to one day join the ranks of those who are showing her the ropes.

“I want to go to school to study medicine,” she said. “I want to help people in the future and that is one of my ultimate goals.”