From PBS to nurse practitioner, science at every step
Many students receive vocational guidance from professors, supervisors, and other mentors — but Pearl Faldet ’17 found inspiration from PBS characters.
As a Social Entrepreneur Scholar through the St. Olaf College Piper Center for Vocation and Career, Faldet secured an internship with Twin Cities PBS as the Minnesota Productions and Partnerships Intern. At PBS, Faldet spent many days visiting children’s hospitals with characters from the organization’s shows.
Faldet also worked with the SciGirls program, a show that features stories about women in STEM careers. This program “helps curb the stigma that it’s not cool for girls to do science,” says Faldet.
Faldet, who majored in biology at St. Olaf, has experienced this stigma firsthand. “There’s a stereotype that female scientists wear huge glasses and are super nerdy, and it’s not that way at all,” she says.
For Faldet, helping young girls do experiments and encouraging them to explore their potential as scientists was immensely rewarding.
In addition to the time that she spent with SciGirls, Faldet’s internship involved work at ECHO, an organization that partners with PBS to provide public health information for refugees and recent immigrants in Minnesota.
Faldet found redesigning ECHO’s website just as rewarding as her work with SciGirls, knowing that her internship would benefit others.
And she became passionate about the public health sector through this part of her internship: “The two best ways to improve a person’s life are through education and health, and public health does both,” she says.
On campus, Faldet was a member of the Board of Regents Student Committee, where she served as a liaison between members of the administration and the student body. In addition, her student work enriched her time at St. Olaf, from maintaining water levels in carnivorous plants as a greenhouse worker to teaching evolutionary phylogeny concepts as a lab assistant to facilitating vocational discussions as a Peer Advisor in the Piper Center.
Faldet, who plans to attend graduate school to pursue an advanced nursing degree, says that it was her experience at PBS that solidified her commitment to establishing a career as a nurse practitioner.
“Nursing allows me to nurture passions I explored at TPT: a passion for science and research, a passion for health as an instrument to empower, a passion for teaching, and a passion for solving complex issues in a team setting,” she says.