Black History Month

Trinity College President Creating More STEM Opportunities for Students

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Joanne Berger-Sweeney, the first African American and first woman to serve as president to Trinity College, is working to create more opportunities for students both in school, and after they graduate.

“It’s an incredible honor, I also feel that it’s a great responsibility to make sure I’m not the last," Berger-Sweeney said of her role.

She comes from a family that encouraged her to pursue higher education from an early age.

"I had a history of higher education in my family," said Berger-Sweeney. "My parents were college-educated and their parents were college-educated."

She's been making history for the majority of her career as a neuroscientist. Berger-Sweeney became the first woman of color to be a full professor at her alma mater, Wellesley College.

The long-time neuroscientist was also the first woman of color to become the dean of Arts and Science at Tufts University.

"I think part of my job is to let people know that you can achieve your dreams," said Berger-Sweeney. "It is hard work but if you work hard, and if you have the right opportunities, its amazing what you can achieve."

Since her reign as president, she's worked to create more opportunities for her students. The university has created a partnership with the technology company, Infosys.

"If you open up access and give people opportunities, you will be amazed at how much they can achieve in society," said Berger-Sweeney. "We are working to what kind of skill sets do you need for technology jobs, and we are trying to make sure that people have those."

Berger-Sweeney mentions that the focus should be making sure students get a high return on their educational investment.

"If you pay a lot for your college education you want to make sure you have a higher income," said Berger-Sweeney. "We want to make sure that students have peace of mind when they come to Trinity College and invest in their education."

The long-time neuroscientist has one piece of advice for people in charge of opening the doors for others.

"Don't cut off any group, any gender from opportunity because we need a diversity of talent," said Berger-Sweeney. "If we can provide these opportunities for students, we could really have a great country.

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