• Press Release

Mount Sinai’s Center for Scientific Diversity, Nonprofit First Workings Partner to Connect Underrepresented High School Students to Careers in Stem

  • New York, NY
  • (April 15, 2021)

The Center for Scientific Diversity at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with nonprofit First Workings to expose high school students from underrepresented groups to careers in science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM), create networking opportunities, and develop their social capital.

This partnership aims to develop a sustainable and diverse talent pipeline into the biomedical research workforce. First Workings, a nonprofit helping underserved New York City high school students build social capital and develop workplace readiness skills, will connect teens interested in the medical and science fields with mentors and internships at the Center. Through the partnership with Icahn Mount Sinai, students explore opportunities available in life sciences while building a network of supportive and culturally competent mentors.

“Our data suggests students’ interest in the medical field has significantly increased over the last year, presumably inspired by the ongoing pandemic,” said Kevin Davis, founder and executive director of First Workings. “Our students are eager to gain experience, find mentors and build social capital in the industry. This partnership with the Center allows us to connect students with industry experts and open doors to a wide range of avenues in the medical field.”

Founded by Dr. Emma Benn, the Center for Scientific Diversity strives to ensure research success and equitable advancement of underrepresented faculty investigators in academic medical centers nationwide and strengthen the pipeline of underrepresented students into the biomedical research workforce. Through a rigorous, antiracist, and research-driven approach, the center connects students to a multidisciplinary team of experts in biostatistics, epidemiology, behavioral psychology, neuropsychology, basic science, medicine, neuroscience, and health disparities research.

“As an African-American biostatistician, I am keenly aware of the need for early exposure to STEM research careers and diverse mentors and role models who can increase underrepresented students’ sense of belonging and scientific identity,” said Dr. Benn, Associate Professor, Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn Mount Sinai. “This partnership between our Center and First Workings is uniquely suited to recruit, retain, encourage, and advance the next generation of leaders and innovators in biomedical research.”   

The Center invites experts in the field to present regular workshops to First Workings program participants, covering topics including clinical and translational research, field opportunities and careers paths in biomedical research, scientific computing, diversity and innovation in academic medicine, tips to avoid burnout, and navigating predominantly white spaces.

First Workings
First Workings is effectively a bridge between high achieving and highly motivated students, from some of the City’s most underserved communities, with companies and organizations who are seeking diversity. First Workings’ mission is to give students the opportunity to build social capital through paid summer internships, which can lead to professional relationships, mentorships, letters of recommendations, and future job opportunities. For more information on First Workings, please visit https://firstworkings.org/.

Center for Scientific Diversity
The Center for Scientific Diversity is an initiative of the Dean’s Office and Institute for Health Equity Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The Center’s mission is to increase the research success and ensure equitable advancement of underrepresented faculty investigators in academic medical centers nationwide. Additionally, the Center is committed to increasing the representation and retention of underrepresented students in the biomedical research workforce. The Center applies a rigorous, antiracist, research-driven, evidence-based, and culturally competent approach to accomplish these goals.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.