Mentor and Mom: Preparing Saint Mary’s Women on Campus and at Home
By Emerald Blankenship ’17
Ask Saint Mary’s women what their alma mater means to them, and you’re likely to get a variety of answers. Stephanie Pasas-Farmer ’98 is passionate about her Saint Mary’s education and it serves as the foundation for the way she runs her business, mentors others, and raises her children.
She says, “I had a picture of my daughter, and it was at a dino-dig all about paleontology, so it was science-driven. She’s sitting there, and she's the only girl amongst a whole bunch of boys, and she's the only one raising her hand. I’m like, ‘This is Saint Mary’s’.”
Pasas-Farmer is the president and founder of BioData Solutions, LLC, a firm that offers research and development, commercial and bioanalytical consulting services to early stage pharmaceutical and biological drug development organizations. After graduating from Saint Mary’s with a degree in chemistry, Pasas-Farmer earned her master of science degree with honors in pharmaceutical chemistry and her doctorate of philosophy from the University of Kansas.
In January, she returned to Saint Mary’s to present at a professional development workshop she helped design for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students. The workshop offered panel discussions, composed of other alumnae in STEM fields.
“I believe that the caliber of women we put out into the workforce is incredible. When I was here, the attention to student development by the professors really encouraged and empowered you as a student to go into graduate school and the workforce and have confidence.”
Pasas-Farmer has found collaborative efforts — ongoing and encouraged at Saint Mary’s — are actually a rarity in more of the real world. She feels strongly about providing support and guidance to current students.
“As women we need to know it's okay to claim your own abilities and advocate for yourself. You have every right to be proud of what you do, especially here at such an incredible place. We, as alums, scream from the rooftop how great this place is, and we can only do so much unless you believe it yourself.”
While Pasas-Farmer’s career has been impressive, her proudest accomplishment is something you won’t find on her resume.
“I think about the way I’m raising my daughters. We encourage each to be herself and to ask questions. I think it's made me a better mom. And I’m raising a gentleman, as well. He is a self-proclaimed feminist, just like his dad, at the age of nine. I’m really happy and I don’t think I would’ve been able to be as good of a mom without that.”