ABS Goes Red for Women at American Heart Association Mentoring Event

November 22, 2016 – ABS was delighted to be one of the 2016 sponsors of the American Heart Association’s, Go Red for Women, a cause that promotes awareness of the rising risk of heart disease in women.  The theme for the November 16 event, Go Red Goes STEM, focused on empowering girls to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by furthering their education in science, technology, engineering, and math.  The morning began with a Speed Mentoring session attended by young women from Chicago area high schools who have chosen or are considering a career path in the STEM fields.  ABS participated in the mentoring portion of the day and later at the Networking Reception which took place at Northwestern Medicine’s Prentice Women’s Hospital.

Each speed mentoring session lasted 7 minutes and there were 10 total over the course of 90 minutes. The team of ABS representatives were given a discussion topic and encouraged students to pose their questions even if they did not necessarily pertain to the subject at hand. There was also a fishbowl of miscellaneous questions on the table that ABS mentors drew from when there was a lull in conversation which was rare because most of the young women were enthusiastic and engaging. The mentors led the discussions, sharing personal stories, and invited the girls to share their thoughts and questions.

Session themes varied from overcoming challenges in STEM fields, interviewing, advanced education, and daily course loads. But if there was a common refrain, it was that these highly motivated young ladies did not have time for passive leisure activities.  They were all involved in extracurricular activities as diverse and intense as math and science clubs, debating, Model UN, child care, preschool teaching, nursing classes, internships, or part-time jobs to save for college tuition.

Based on experience, ABS mentors (Anna Pena, Kim Newsome, Barbara Bird and TJ Mitchell) often encouraged STEM students to get a well-rounded education while pursuing an advanced degree no matter how career specific. “No one can predict exactly what the future will bring in any given field no matter how high the current demand for such professionals,” noted Barbara Bird. “I started my career in teaching before computers were so prevalent, but was glad to have taken computer sciences classes so I could eventually move into the burgeoning IT job market.”

The Executive Networking Reception took place later in the afternoon and was attended by other members of the ABS team who met and mingled with more sponsors, AHA leadership, and members of the STEM Steering Committee.  All in all, the day was a huge success for everyone concerned!

About Go Red for Women

In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention. In fact, many even dismissed it as an older man’s disease. To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease and stroke as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red for Women, a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health. For more information visit them at www.goredforwomen.org .