News from National Science and Technology Medals Foundation
For release on October 1, 2020
Contact: Allison Courtin, [email protected], 202-630-6199
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Science and Technology Medals Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of inSTEM, a mentorship and skills development program for undergraduate students pursuing STEM studies. This program, emphasizing community building and emotional resilience, is unique among support systems for students.
The NSTMF developed the inSTEM program to address a national attrition challenge in STEM majors. Less than half of first-year students who enter STEM majors will graduate with a STEM degree, and students from underrepresented communities are even less likely. Support is not one-size-fits-all; inSTEM not only equips members with key skills and connections but also creates environments where Scholars feel comfortable in their STEM communities.
inSTEM offers small cohorts of undergraduates from underrepresented groups in STEM a comprehensive four-year curriculum, which addresses the holistic needs of participants and fosters lifelong mentor-mentee relationships that will promote success and perseverance well beyond graduation. The program employs an asset-based approach and encourages co-generative dialogue. These modalities empower participants to advocate for themselves and their peers in fields that have historically been dominated by cisgender white men. inSTEM gives its Scholars the confidence and skills necessary to break down the systemic barriers that have kept marginalized populations out of science and technology.
“inSTEM was borne from a need to nurture community amongst undergraduate students from marginalized communities. Our goal is to center community building and holistic wellness while providing access to resources, opportunities, and mentors to encourage student success in the classroom and beyond,” said LC Charity, director of programs and culture at the NSTMF. “First-year undergrads enter the classroom with a range of experiences that are neither reflected on paper nor in their GPA. We wanted to build a program and feature mentors who recognize this is an asset rather than a flaw.”
Mentorship is particularly effective when mentees recognize aspects of themselves in their mentors. Like its student participants, inSTEM mentors are diverse in background, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability.
The inSTEM program has been developed by the NSTMF over the last two years under the leadership of LC Charity. This program was developed with oversight from an advisory council, including Megan Roberts, Geraldine Richmond, Emmanuel Johnson, and Yuvelqui Rattigan.
“inSTEM is a watershed moment for the NSTMF as the Foundation enters its third decade. This program demonstrates the NSTMF’s commitment to building a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable STEM community,” said Andy Rathmann-Noonan, executive director of the NSTMF. “This is an outstanding step for the NSTMF and we are especially grateful for LC’s efforts of the past two years to make this program a reality.”
The inSTEM pilot program will launch this fall at Howard University in coordination with the Office of Research and College of Arts and Sciences. Learn more at nationalmedals.org/inSTEM.
The National Science and Technology Medals Foundation is a DC-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to build inclusive STEM communities across the United States. Fundamental to these communities are the significant, inspirational connections we foster between the individuals who have received national recognition for excellence in STEM and today’s diverse generation of college and high school students. Together they will pave the way for a more equitable future in science and technology. The NSTMF is not affiliated with the United States Government.