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ENVISIONing the Next Generation of Diverse Science Leaders
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The California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) has long facilitated and witnessed the power of connecting students with life science industry professionals – understanding the tremendous impact an internship, an informational interview, and even a career talk can have on a student’s career trajectory. For Black and Latinx students who are notably underrepresented in the life science industry, these connections can be the spark that draws them towards the industry’s vast and rewarding careers. The Institute’s STEM education and workforce programs and partnerships have a key focus on increasing these students’ access to the industry by fostering these important connections.

Enter Slone Partners and its new ENVISION Program designed to help underrepresented community college students develop the skillsets and networks necessary to succeed in the life sciences. Formed in partnership with City College of San Francisco’s (CCSF) Biotechnology Program, the Gladstone Institutes PUMAS Program, and CLSI, the program is high-touch, creating focused interactions between life science executives and students who are within 6-12 months of graduating. Two-on-one mentorships help students set goals, decipher the life science industry and ecosystem, build resumes, and strategically navigate the path to a science career.

Tara Kochis-Stach is the President of Slone Partners and the vision behind ENVISION. Seeking to address the gender and diversity gaps in the life sciences industry, Kochis-Stach created the ENVISION program to develop diverse student leaders by providing them access to the same networks, guidance, and support as their peers when trying to build a career.

After consulting closely over several months with partners, the first ENVISION pilot ran last spring and culminated in the first student receiving a job offer as a Research Associate with Charles River Laboratories.

Further walking the talk, Slone Partners recently hired Candace Nortey to serve as Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  A longtime educator, Nortey will manage the program and leverage Slone Partners’ role and connections as a nationwide life sciences executive recruiting firm to scale it nationally.

“We have an opportunity with ENVISION to change the lives of many young women and people of color who might otherwise have been unable or unwilling to entertain the idea of entering into the life sciences,” said Nortey. “Working with our project partners, we are laying the groundwork for affecting substantial positive change throughout our industry.”

The ENVISION program was recently covered in the San Francisco Business Times. Read the full article here.