Trailblazers: Women Succeeding in STEM

Trailblazers April 2019 was a huge success! We would like to thank everyone who made these events possible, both for their support of Trailblazers and for their tireless dedication to helping and inspiring the young women who attend these events. We would also like to thank our hosts for kindly allowing us the use of their space and for being such great partners over the past few months – North Hennepin Community College & Mall of America in the Twin Cities and Corteva Agriscience in Des Moines.

What are Trailblazers Panel Events?

Trailblazers events are educational panel events that Keyot facilitates on a semi-annual basis and are a large part of the way we “give back” to our communities. They create mentorship opportunities by providing young women a chance to meet with other women who are currently employed in STEM and get to know more about what these jobs are like.

This program arose from our founders’ own experiences as women in STEM and their desire to provide guidance to young women who may be considering going into STEM, but who have questions or don’t know where to start. These programs also hope to bring some diversity to our STEM communities, because despite being 50% of the US workforce, women compose less than 25% of STEM workers. For reference, in college, President Anjie Cayot was the only girl in her entire MIS program!

To pull an event together, we start by reaching out to a small number of local women who are working in STEM jobs, who are typically 5 to 10 years into their careers. These women form our panels. We then invite young women from the surrounding community to attend a two-hour event – attendee ages range from early high school to early college.

At the event, the panelists share their stories with attendees and talk a little bit about their backgrounds, what they do for a living, and what a typical day in their jobs is like. Once we make it through all the panelists, we break into small groups so attendees can meet the panelists and ask them any questions they might have.

Trailblazers events give young women the opportunity to meet women just like them, albeit a few years older, so they can really imagine themselves pursuing these types of careers. Our panelists come from all sorts of backgrounds and have all taken different paths to get to where they are today – the one thing they have in common is that they’re all succeeding today as women in STEM and want to inspire others to follow suit. We feel incredibly fortunate for all the young women we’ve been able to impact so far and look forward to many more Trailblazers events – we hope to see you at the next one!

Some Pictures From Our April 2019 Trailblazers Events

North Hennepin Community College

Our first April event was held on Tuesday, April 16th at North Hennepin Community College. Our panel featured a Manufacturing Engineer, a Business Analyst, a Research Biotechnologist, an Extracorporeal Therapies Scientist, an Epidemiologist, a Manufacturing Biotechnician, and a Physician Assistant.

Robbyn W, Research Biotechnologist at Cargill, explains what she does with the help of a prop – a baby chick stuffed animal meant to represent a microbe.

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Alejandra J, Extracorporeal Therapies Scientist at Medtronic, was kind enough to bring along a complicated piece of medical technology related to her job.North Hennepin Trailblazers 2019 3

Alyssa S, Manufacturing Engineer at Teleflex, connects with Trailblazers attendees face to face during our small group breakout session. Behind her, Skarlett S, Business Analyst with Surescripts, can be seen doing the same.North Hennepin Trailblazers 2019 4

Keyot President Anjie Cayot along with Keyot Partner Chandler Cayot lead a special parents breakout session to answer questions from the parents of our attendees.

Corteva Agriscience

Our second event was on Thursday, April 18th at Corteva Agriscience in Johnston, Iowa, just north of Des Moines. For this event, our panel featured a Software Developer, a Project Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, a Business Analyst, and an Agricultural Research Scientist.

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Cindy Rockwell, Managing Partner and CIO of Keyot, kicks things off at our Des Moines Trailblazers event at Corteva Agriscience.

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A fisheye view of the great venue provided by Corteva Agriscience while our panelists are introduced.

Mall of America

Our second Minnesota event was also on Thursday, April 18th, located at Mall of America. Our panel for this event featured a Project Coordinator, a Lean Process/Quality Engineer, an R&D Scientist, an IT Security Analyst, a Data Engineer, a Software Developer, an Application Analyst, and an Engineer working in Water Resource Planning for Cities.

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A shot of our Mall of America panelists along with President Anjie Cayot and former panelist/emcee Jessica T. – MOA did a great job of decorating and created this fun ‘STEM’ balloon display for a picture backdrop!

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All our great panelists listen while Danielle R, a Lean Process Engineer and Quality Engineer at WCCO Belting, tells us about what she does.Mall of America Trailblazers April 2019 3

Lots of attendees for our Mall of America event – we appreciate everyone who was able to join us!Thank you again to all who attended a Trailblazers event in April! If you have any questions about Trailblazers or would like to be kept in the loop about when our next event is, feel free to reach out to us at!

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