In what ways do you strengthen your community through the above role/position?

My hope is that I am able inspire a passion and confidence in the young women I teach on a daily basis. I want them to see that Science is fun, it is important, and that they are more than capable of competing in the STEM fields. 
I host a STEAM expo every year for my students, I encourage them to enroll in various extracurricular STEM programs, and I have even been able to bring in Nobel Laureate Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi as a guest speaker for the entire school. I am always looking for opportunities for my students to find role models in STEM. I want my students to see women in STEM that look like them, think like them, and succeed like they will.

Are there any obstacles you struggle(d) to overcome? Consider obstacles specific (but not limited) to being a woman in your role? 

In college I encountered TAs and Professors that attempted to dissuade me from pursuing the sciences because it was “tough for women.” That only fueled my fire and pushed me to try harder. I needed to show them, and show myself, that not only was I capable of “doing science”, but I would one day take that lesson and make it more accessible, fun, and attainable for my students. I learned what it meant to be a great and inspiring teacher by not doing what they did. 

What is the best (most rewarding, empowering, FUN) part of what you do?

The most rewarding thing for me is when students tell me they love science (and used to hate it) and now want to major in science in college. Or when I get emails from former students in college detailing how much they remember from my classes and/or the research they are involved in.

Do you have any advice for women and girls who may look to follow in your footsteps or pursue a course in a similar field? 

Go for it! Never let anyone hold you back and don’t be afraid to try (even if you might fail). If you never try, you’ll never know what great things you can do!


Lauren Serpagli

Chair of the STEM Department at Dominican Academy High School, Honors Biology and AP Biology teacher at Dominican Academy. Dominican Academy is an all female high school in Manhattan