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Deerfield Patch, Lundbeck Focuses on Increasing Number of Graduates Earning STEM Degrees

June 2, 2015
By Community Contributor Kate Neer (source)
Lundbeck Focuses on Increasing Number of Graduates Earning STEM Degrees
According to the 2014 U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index, student abilities and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have been relatively flat for more than a decade, even as the need for STEM expertise continues to increase. Locally, Deerfield-based Lundbeck US is working hard to address this issue. "Lundbeck is a science and research-based company, so we have an important responsibility to inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists," said Staffan Schüberg, president of Lundbeck US. "We also have a deep understanding that these young adults interested in STEM careers will be tomorrow's medical innovators, bringing new treatments to patients who need them."

Lundbeck is a long-time partner of the Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy, an open enrollment public school focused on scientific inquiry and problem solving in math, science and all subjects. In 2011, Lundbeck sponsored the refurbishment of the school's chemistry lab, and each year offers two internship positions for students to gain hands-on experience in STEM careers. Last year, for the first time, Lundbeck took its commitment to STEM education a step further by offering two college scholarships to Perspectives seniors demonstrating academic excellence and a passion for STEM. "Lundbeck is a longstanding and deeply engaged supporter of our school," said Julie Puzon, principal of Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy. "Through their hands-on involvement with our students, they have truly brought to life the exciting possibilities a STEM career can offer."

Lundbeck again offered two STEM college scholarships to the class of 2015. Zhanelle Mitchell and Akporesiri Omene were selected as this year's recipients and will enroll in STEM majors when they begin college in the fall. Mitchell will attend the University of Illinois and is driven to study biology. She plans to use that degree to attend medical school and become a physician. She hopes to center her career on improving infant and childhood mortality rates around the world. After earning a degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Omene aims to become a civil engineer and create needed infrastructure in developing nations. "We are very proud to support Zhanelle and Akporesiri," said Schüberg. "They not only represent the solution to the ongoing struggle this country faces with producing STEM graduates, but both plan to use their degrees to tackle some of the most difficult issues facing the world."