Our ITIAH Angels For Learning founder Marie Thadal spoke at her alma mater, Rutgers University, on October 3, 2020.  She attended the Christiana Foglio DC ’84 Douglass Career Conference for Women that occurred online due to the pandemic.

Thadal spoke at the “Role Models Make a Difference: Building Mentor Relationships in the STEM Industry” workshop and talked about her journey working as a woman, advocating for herself, and the role models in her life.

“It was important to share my story with the students of Douglass,” Thadal said. “I hope that my story will inspire them to continue on their journey. Students and young professionals benefit from the support of mentors as well as sponsors. I am always excited to be that individual especially when I notice their drive to succeed.”

Since the conference was virtual, one-on-one in person interaction was not possible. Thadal, however, said that she kept an open mind while listening to her fellow panelists, and learning from their experiences as young academics and industry professionals.

Soon after the event, one Douglass student reached out to Thadal in LinkedIn after the talk, remembering her from another Rutgers event — the Project SUPER Symposium — and wanting to reconnect.

As a result, Thadal helped direct the student, who is interested in the cosmetic industry, to other platforms like ssconeline.org to look for ways to break into the industry.

Thadal was invited to participate in the conference by Leslie D. Danehy, Ed.D, Assistant Dean and Executive Director of the BOLD Center at Rutgers University. After the event, she received a follow-up email from Dr. Danehy thanking her for her time and asking about opening up opportunities for future students.

“My story has always been about excelling through education and being resilient in order to succeed and finding a path to leadership,” Thadal said. “Especially today during the pandemic, I wanted to encourage the students to stay positive and keep their eyes on their goals. Overall, that was my main purpose for participating.”

Watch the session here.

By Mia Boccher, Rutgers University Fellow

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