Baird Scholars Reap Benefits of Networking
Carmen High School of Science and Technology was recently ranked a top public high school in Wisconsin by U.S. News & World Report. Founded by Alverno alumnae Patricia Hoben ’04, Carmen uses an abilities-based approach to prepare students for college. The school has become a natural partner for Alverno.
Yesica Desarden, a wish coordinator at Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, was the very first Carmen alumna to graduate from college, receiving her degree from Alverno in 2014. Thanks to the Baird Scholars Program at Alverno, numerous Carmen students have followed in her footsteps.
Since 2015, the Baird Scholars Program has granted scholarships to 13 Carmen graduates who enrolled at Alverno. In addition to providing financial assistance, the program offers the students a Day at Baird experience, during which they have lunch and network with women working in a variety of positions at Baird.
A number of students say receiving the Baird scholarship was essential to attending Alverno, but the Day at Baird experience was just as important for their professional development. In many cases, it was the first formal professional networking opportunity they have had and their first opportunity to hear about career paths and ask questions of personal and professional role models.
“I learned a lot of things the day we went to Baird. It was a bit intimidating, but it made me a bit stronger,” says first-year Alverno student Melissa Zacaula Luna, who plans to go to law school. “One of the things that stuck to my heart was when one of the ladies said, ‘Loving yourself is not knowing you are perfect. It’s knowing your strengths and weaknesses and working on what’s not perfect. That’s what makes you a strong woman.’”
Sophomore Saraith Perez says what she enjoyed most about the Day at Baird was being surrounded by skillful women who have taken on more than their professional careers.
“They have also become a source of motivation for individuals like me. I truly loved hearing their advice and the life stories that got them where they are today with Baird,” Perez says. “They are an inspiration and an example that reinforces that persistence is key despite the challenges life might bring.”