During Spring Break, students from Bergen and Passaic Arts and Science charter schools participated in the 2017 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC) Annual Multicultural Teen Corporate Mentoring Program, which was started in 1996. Since its inception, the program has sponsored over 1,000 students, and virtually all participating students have gone on to higher education.
Michelle Radney, Director, Strategy & Operations, Office of the President and Wanda Sims, Associate Director of Philanthropy, welcomed over 100 high school students from across New Jersey to the East Hanover campus for a three-day mentoring program designed to introduce them to the pharmaceutical industry and offer insights into various career opportunities, including options such as marketing and sales, legal, finance, information technology, medical affairs, and more. In fact, Novartis had representatives from several of New Jersey’s largest universities onsite to show students how certain courses of study corresponded with the career that interested them.
Teams of participants raced the clock to use their creativity to “create” a patient advocacy group for a disease, complete with target audience, mission, budget, stakeholders, partners, and sponsors. Students had to identify a need in the areas of neurological, oncology, respiratory, or cardiovascular disease, organize their thoughts into a group presentation, then present their idea orally and through slides in an effort to persuade judges to “sponsor” their enterprise. The judges were top Novartis executives who asked tough, real world questions of each group at the end of each presentation. Each team defended their premise successfully while learning invaluable lessons about business, social, financial, and ethical issues. Students received thirty plus hours of community service hours needed for high school requirements and an invaluable learning experience.
A special thanks to the Passaic Middle-High Science Department for the great opportunity!