Lawrenceville Alumni Panel: Careers in STEM

Angel Xin ’26 in News | October 21, 2022

Last Friday, Lawrenceville students participated in the first iteration of the Career Series, a once-a-term program dedicated to giving students a fuller exposure to different potential career fields. The theme for the first career panel was STEM, and students were joined by five Lawrenceville alumni who work in their respective fields. 
Despite all working in STEM related fields, the career paths of the panelists vary. They included a founder of a startup company dedicated to tutoring girls to code, an administrator for United Airlines, a senior director from Johnson & Johnson, and many more different paths. The panelists covered a variety of broad topics, from how different positions will have a drastic impact on career goals, to the distinctions between working in a larger and a smaller corporation in the STEM field. 
Churan Xu ’25, a new III Former, said that the event offered Lawrenceville students an incredibly educational space where she could interact with and learn from highly successful individuals. For Xu, the best part of the event was getting to have one-on-one conversations with the various alumni who attended. The alumni were “super approachable” and gave her individualized comments on how she should plan her high school career in order to prepare for a future career. She also noted how “the bond between the alumni” seemed very tight and special. Some of the panelists graduated in similar years and had known each other during their time at Lawrenceville, and despite not having been students at Lawrenceville for a long time, they all seemed close even today. Furthermore, the panelists collectively agreed that Lawrenceville’s education system helps students develop a “better working ethic” and “stress coping mechanism” which were useful skills for them while they were in college,as well as during their careers. Xu also had some suggestions to improve the event. Most speakers hold “administrative positions” that require less direct knowledge about STEM subjects, so it would be better if there could be more “technical professionals” at future panels, she said.
The most important message Xu learnt from this event is to never be afraid of exploring new things. One of the alumni “in the engineering field has switched 10 jobs…and another switched to academia from investment banking,” she said. In fact, the majority of these accomplished alumni did not think that they were going to end up eventually working in the STEM field. From learning about the diverse ways to approach STEM—administration, academia, and business—Xufound comfort in knowing that “pursuing a very different major in undergrad doesn't necessarily hinder your success in STEM.” All in all, Xu found the event to be extremely informative, and she looks forward to attending future career series events hosted by our Student Council.