On Thursday, June 18th, the Aparecio Foundation held the 14 Under 45 Speaker Series. The event brought together professionals from various fields to speak to young girls on how to attain academic prosperity.
Mamta Patel Nagaraja currently manages the Women@NASA project at NASA Headquarters and was one of several speakers to give advice at the speaker series.
Despite her tight schedule preventing her from physically attending the 14 Under 45 event, Nagaraja wanted to emphasize the importance of mentorship and therefore made a Skype appearance to do so.
When later asked why mentorship was so important to her, Nagajara stated that if it weren’t for key people in her life, she probably wouldn’t have gotten to where she is now.
“This is why I make sure if a young person asks me a question, I take the time to stop and answer, despite my calendar of packed events.”
Like the Aparecio Foundation, the Women@NASA project values the importance of mentoring young girls towards a path of success. The Women@NASA project has created a mentorship program called NASA G.I.R.L.S. (Giving Initiative and Relevance to Learning Science), which, Nagaraja said, aims to provide young girls with female role models and expose them to a new field of study.
Nagajara believes that the gender gap in the field of sciences can be a sensitive subject to some female scientists. “Some women left the sciences and wished they had someone who encouraged them to stay in the field,” said Nagajara.
This is where those “key people” come in-the mentors. If only for a brief moment, Nagajara was just that to those young girls who attended the 14 Under 45 event. She made them realize the importance of foundations such as The Aparecio Foundation, which will help them find mentors who impart lifelong lessons.