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5 Things We Want to Know



January was National Mentor Month. STEM Learning relies heavily on mentors, and we know how important they are to helping young learners see themselves as scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and more.

Events like the Senior Showcase hosted by the KC STEM Alliance, within ecosySTEM KC, provide an opportunity to engage community members to illustrate how STEM education is relevant. KC STEM gathered dozens of mentors for presentations plus small group workshops and individual conversations. As it turns out, the mentors gained as much as the students!

Here are a few thoughts from Troy Reazin, Senior Manager of Field Operations at Coherex/Biosense Webster, Inc.

  • What did you hope to teach the students? My goal was twofold; one was to give them a glimpse into a novel medical therapy like Left Atrial Appendage Closure, and the mechanism of action of the therapy.  The other goal was to highlight the medical device field and a (possible) career path for some of these students (either as an MD or non-MD).
  • What did you learn from the students? Some of them were very engaging. They asked a lot of questions … and are clearly smarter than me!
  • Why do you want to mentor students? I have benefited in so many ways in my life from various people, at various times, taking the time to guide me and pay things forward.  Whenever I have the opportunity, I try and return the favor to the next generation.
  • Your thoughts for other professionals considering something similar? It’s a cliché, but I would tell anyone considering that the “teacher” gets more out of it than the students.”
  • Who has mentored you? The CEO of the first start-up company I was involved with back in 1999.  Start-up organizations in the med-tech space have a vastly different culture than large, established device companies.  The pace is extremely fast, and there is a need to wear many hats, which means you inevitably will get out of your comfort zone and feel like you’re in the “deep end” with various work streams.  Jim (the CEO) was instrumental in providing guidance, reassurance, and just the right amount of “kick in the pants” that helped me develop skill sets that otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to acquire.
As we all work to connect STEM professionals with students, keep in mind these comments are from a first-time volunteer who will certainly continue his efforts to benefit local students.