Blog for August 2021: Improving the Undergraduate Experience: Supporting Underrepresented Students in STEM & Computing

Posted by: Ann Gates on July 26, 2021

Cultural diversity in our workforce is a key factor in our nation’s ability to innovate and compete in a global economy. The American Chemical Society states it best: the inclusion of and respect for diverse people, experiences, and ideas lead to superior solutions to world challenges and advances our field. Industry sectors, the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s, the National Science Foundation, and other distinguished agencies and organizations have sounded a “Call to Action” to develop and implement strategies that substantially increase the postsecondary and STEM degree attainment rates of students of color. There are numerous barriers to entry into many of the STEM fields, which include lack of: diversity in the professoriate, role models, mentored research experiences, adoption of experiential learning pedagogy, internship and lab experiences, awareness of academic and career pathways, welcoming environments, and resources and opportunities to support faculty professional development. To accelerate change, it is incumbent upon us to work as a collective to share our experiences, conduct research to better understand organizational structures that support effective practices, develop and disseminate resources, support professional development, and engage in reflective practices that lead to continuous improvement. The STEM for All Multiplex initiative is an important step toward sharing and learning from others on what works, as well as coordinating efforts that have been shown to make a difference.


The STEM for All Multiplex panel brings together a distinguished group of experts who have incorporated effective practices into their programs to expand participation of diverse students who may otherwise not have chosen a STEM pathway. Marine Biologist Jasmin Graham (representing the “MariSci LACE” project) and Dr. Patricia Morreale (representing the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions’ “Virtual REU program”) each bring a disciplinary focus regarding underrepresentation of people of color. They will share effective practices to recruit, retain, and advance students in Marine Science and Computer Science, respectively. Dr. Maria Santisteban representing the “COMPASS for STEM Students” project will share the strategies that are used at the University of North Carolina Pembroke to support Native American students and other students of color in STEM, in particular those that cultivate students’ science identity and sense of belonging. Dr. Preeti Gupta will share the results from the “Stay in Science” longitudinal research study and important insights regarding the pathways of STEM-interested high school students from underrepresented groups.

To learn more about their work, view this month's playlist to watch the four videos created by these projects. You can also browse the resources shared for this month's theme. 


We look forward to this month's interactive panel and breakout session. Register today!


View playlist related to this theme »