New Dean of STEM Marie Hronik-Tupaj. (Courtesy of Middlesex Community College)
Middlesex Community College recently announced Marie Hronik-Tupaj as its new dean of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). As an engineering professor, Hronik-Tupaj has been at Middlesex for five years and strives to provide an inclusive, student-centered environment for all of his students.
“I like to provide a positive learning experience by starting where the students are and supporting everyone in the classroom,” Hronik-Tupaj said. “In the STEM division, our values are to teach and work with students directly from their first class to their next steps after graduation. We strive to help students succeed and for this reason, it is very important to provide them with opportunities to connect with us, their classmates and the community.
In her new role, Hronik-Tupaj looks forward to leveraging educational workforce opportunities within MCC’s STEM division. This includes enhancing STEM-based Learn and Earn experiences and working with industry partners on internship opportunities and curriculum development. Interested in learning new technologies, she also hopes to create programs at MCC that support emerging trends, including robotics, artificial intelligence and environmental biology.
While the college received a grant to support women of color studying information technology, Hronik-Tupaj seeks to increase enrollment, retention and high-paying job opportunities for this population. Hronik-Tupaj believes that students interested in STEM, especially women, can succeed by finding a subject they love, sticking with the curriculum, and connecting with classmates and someone who followed this path before them.
“There are a lot more women in engineering and science than there were 30 or 40 years ago, which is encouraging,” she said. “Even today, the challenge is to get women into management and leadership positions in these areas, but we are making progress. »
Hronik-Tupaj’s path into STEM was influenced by her father, who was an electrical engineer. She discovered a passion for this subject in high school because she enjoyed listening to inspiring science lectures and working on difficult problems. In college, she pursued an engineering degree because she knew there were many good-paying jobs available in the Boston area.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University, Hronik-Tupaj began working in the high-tech industry. At the time, the field of biotechnology was growing, so she returned to Tufts to earn a doctorate. in biomedical engineering. She then decided to pursue higher education.
While in college, Hronik-Tupaj benefited from tracking degrees and working with career services. Participating in internships helped her build her resume, which allowed her to receive attractive job offers after graduation. Now working at MCC, she believes it is important to provide students with as many real-world applications as possible, including in labs and activities outside of the classroom.
“In the STEM division, we will continue to focus on creating a positive learning experience that helps students achieve their goals,” Hronik-Tupaj said.