Young Alumni Skeptics 2021
Young Alumni Skeptics 2021
Young Alumni Skeptics 2021
Young Alumni Skeptics 2021
Society of Skeptics Ends Fall Season with Young Alumni Panel
Paula Hong '16

Ending the fall semester’s Society of Skeptics series on a high note, Blair welcomed back five former students for the annual Young Alumni Skeptics, which has become one of the most anticipated events of the season. This year’s event generated a good deal of interest given the panel’s focus: Young Women in Tech. Watch their presentation below:

 


If you ask any millennial or “Gen Z” centennial, you’ll quickly realize how big the phenomenon of “Women in Tech” is. The trend has become increasingly popular as women have begun to thrive in the forward-thinking industry. Even international superstars such as fashion model Karlie Kloss have created programs to encourage young women to enroll in coding classes and learn more about all the industry offers in terms of fulfilling, lifelong careers. 
 
On Tuesday, December 7, Blair students gathered to listen to recent alumnae Sierra Yit ’13, Kathryn Middleton ’10, Kate Anello ’12, Elizabeth Martens ’08 and Lara Bucarey ’06 talk about how they've succeeded in such a competitive industry. 
 
Although the panel will naturally highlight strong women and female empowerment, the alumnae also discussed ways in which everyone, both men and women, can find a place within the industry. 
 
“I’d love to tell high school students that a career in Tech is possible. You don’t have to fit a specific bubble or stereotype, just follow your passions while being open minded,” said Ms. Middleton. 
 
“I hope,” chimed in Ms. Martens, “that students who haven’t been exposed to computer science from a young age realize that they can be successful in the industry and that they might enjoy the problem solving opportunities and flexibility it provides.” 
 
“You don’t need to have built a computer in your basement in order to be a high value contributor, and you don’t need to have been doing this since your freshman year. It’s not too late to get into it. If you love puzzles, math and learning new things, and you’re humble enough to ask good questions, you can build a great career in this industry.”
 
“I had so many interests in high school and had no idea what I wanted to do. I had no idea what it meant to be an engineer and discovered it on my own by going to college and taking different classes there. I took one called ‘Principles of Computer Science’ and absolutely loved it. Fortunately for me, I continued down that path,” added Ms. Middleton.
 
“I love quirky things: odd and interesting jobs, a great piece of trivia or crazy invention,” said Ms. Anello. “When I was at Blair, I loved Skeptics for all of the above. Being able to bring a glimpse of my work world, which is a really unique and interesting place mostly hidden from public view, is all in the tradition.”
 
Having been in the students’ shoes, the young alumnae circled back to their experiences at Blair, back when the women had no idea which college they would attend and before they knew that they would work in leading companies such as Instagram, Disney and Google. 
 
“I attended Society of Skeptics and funnily enough, the one that stood out to me the most was the Young Alumni Panel. I pictured that they were in my shoes and I remember wondering, ‘Wow, will I ever do this [speak in front of students] in the future?’ I remember wondering where I’d also be in ten years and it’s exciting to be in that position now and reflect back on myself,” noted Ms. Middleton. 
 
“It’s okay to not know what you want to do with the rest of your life by the time you graduate Blair! The best thing you can do is keep pursuing things that you enjoy or are passionate about and it will lead you to the right path. Try as much as you can. Half of life is figuring out what you don’t like to make room for the things that you do,” advised Ms. Bucarey.

 


History of Skeptics

The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.
 

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