Using STEM Workshops to Promote Diversity and Access to University Intellectual Capital
Presented by: Diversity Programs Office, UMass Amherst College of Engineering
Strand: Higher Education
The UMass Amherst College of Engineering Diversity Programs Office (DPO) serves over 30 professional student organizations, and many of these groups have community outreach as a central part of their mission statement, and increasingly faculty receive grants that require documented community outreach. The DPO has been developing programs that match the resources and expertise of these groups with target community organizations and schools. We have partnered with students and faculty from multiple departments within the College of Engineering, as well as with faculty in the Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture, Public Policy and Administration, and Environmental Conservation departments across the university to provide STEM workshops and programs that will encourage underserved or minority students to pursue an education and ultimately career in a STEM field. Specific projects in the past year have included the establishment of the “Make It Springfield” maker space in the heart of downtown Springfield (led by Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning), the establishment of a service learning “Maker Space Leadership” course, the continued offerings through the Summer Engineering Institute (SENGI), engineering workshops with local Girl Scout troops, as well as several lab visits and workshops hosted by various research faculty and university students.
Our exhibit offers the story of our successes, as well as our strategies for coping with major hurdles such as financial support, limited faculty and student time, transportation logistics, and arguing the effectiveness and need for faculty and student run STEM outreach programs.