December 2021
News and Updates for
Friends of Building STEPS
U.S. Naval Academy Brings STEM Directly to Students
The United States Naval Academy, a long-time seminar host, truly brought their A-game to our December STEM Seminar. Unable to accept campus visitors, the USNA STEM Center team brought STEM education and hands-on STEM activities directly to our high school sophomores and juniors. Students participated in an engineering design and build challenge, a bioterrorism experiment and electric circuitry. A fantastic day all around!
Focus on Professional Development
Our 2021 Tour De Workforce was a huge success! Back in person, local businesses joined Building STEPS students for a morning of professional exposure and skill building. Through one-on-one networking and conversations, our students learned about opportunities and entry points to a breadth of careers in engineering, cybersecurity, aerospace engineering, optometry, forensic science, information technology and healthcare. We are thankful to all who participated and shared their time and talent with our Building STEPS students.

Thanks to all who made the day a success!
Baltimore Forensics, BGE, CareFirst, Ciena- Blue Planet, DP Solutions, Kennedy Krieger Institute, National Aquarium, the Johns Hopkins WISE and Engineering Innovations programs, Salus University/Pennsylvania College of Optometry and professionals from the field of aerospace engineering. 
Welcome Erika!
Join us in welcoming Erika Cabrera who works directly with our high school seniors on everything college access. A former educator and first generation college student, Erika is uniquely positioned to guide our students toward college and career success. Read Erika's bio.
Coming Full Circle
Towson University's student-run news publication featured Building STEPS in a recent edition. The article highlighted Asia Cole, Building STEPS Program Associate, Outreach and Exploration. Asia is a Building STEPS alum, and as a college student at Towson University, was a Building STEPS intern. After graduation, she joined our team full-time. Towson University is a tremendous partner and supporter of Building STEPS, including representation on our Board leadership and generously providing Building STEPS office headquarters, programming space and many campus resources. Thank you Towson University! 
Asia helps a Building STEPS student finalize her college application during a
recent college workshop.
Volunteer Spotlight
Neal Wesloski, CareFirst
Senior Campus Recruiting Specialist
We welcome Neal as a new volunteer, and industry leader CareFirst, both offering professional support to our bright, city students.

What made you decide to volunteer with Building STEPS? 
A colleague made the connection and introduction to the team at Building STEPS with an opportunity to meet with high school students from Baltimore City Public Schools. Building STEPS was hosting a career expo aimed at providing an opportunity for the students to meet with business professionals and ask questions about future educational goals, learn more about our company and just get some experience interacting with business leaders. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to connect and assist with this amazing opportunity. I always enjoy working with early-stage talent to pass along what I’ve learned throughout my career and what others have shared with me throughout the years. These opportunities also fit right into our mission at CareFirst to give back to the community that we serve – it was a perfect match! 
What was your first impression of working with the Building STEPS students? 
I was immediately impressed by how engaged the students were and all the great questions they brought to the event. They were very well prepared and had a very strong willingness to learn and interact with the volunteers from many different businesses. The students were very thankful and many of them shared how important the event and opportunity was to them. I left the event reflecting and thinking about the direct impact that Building STEPS was having on so many students.
Was there anything in particular that made an impact on you as you volunteered during the Tour de Workforce Career Fair? 
I had so many meaningful interactions with the students, but there was definitely one that made an impact on me. I asked one student what his future goals were. He shared that one of his goals was to be the first person in his family to graduate from college. We had a great discussion, and I was able to give him some ideas on future career goals and potential majors to think about especially in the Human Resources field. The doors that Building STEPS is opening and connections they are making will go a long way in shaping the future of so many of these students in the future.

In Their Own Words
Tis The Season
It's not too late to thank a special someone or show your appreciation this holiday season with personalized holiday donation cards. Select a package of cards to use at your convenience or go paperless and send an e-card! Either way, your gift has a long lasting impact on promising Baltimore City youth. Holiday orders must be in by 12/22 to accommodate print and delivery. Gift Now!