Embracing the Whole Student Towards Success in STEM
The IINSPIRE Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation held its 2015-16 Annual Conference, Embracing the Whole Student Towards Success in STEM, on February 5-6, 2016 at the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa.
The IINSPIRE Annual Conference featured invited speakers and concurrent programs of interest to both students and professionals. Students, faculty, and staff from alliance members and collaborators were encouraged to attend.
Keynote Address & Invited Speakers
Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
Dr. Stovall studies the influence of race in urban education, community development, and housing. His work investigates the significance of race in the quality of schools located in communities that are changing both racially and economically. From a practical and theoretical perspective, his research draws from Critical Race Theory, educational policy analysis, sociology, urban planning, political science, community organizing, and youth culture.
Lecturer, University of Iowa
Program Director, Iowa Biosciences Academy
Program Director, Latham Science Engagement Initiative
Lori Adams received a BS in Crop Science from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, a Ph.D. in Genetics from Texas A&M in College Station, TX, and was a post-doctoral research scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Cornell and then later at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the University of Iowa (UI), Lori Co-Directs the NIH-funded “Iowa Biosciences Academy” program whose mission is to increase the diversity of students obtaining PhDs in the Biosciences and serves as Co-Director for the LSAMP-IINSPIRE alliance at the UI. Lori is also the Biology Honors Program advisor and Deputy Director of a new UI science communication outreach and engagement initiative. As a lecturer in the UI Department of Biology, Lori teaches several courses focused on developing research communication skills. Lori co-leads several student development seminars for the IBA program designed to prepare students for the rigors of graduate school and empower students to be leaders that value and promote diversity in the scientific community. Lori is recognized as a National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences and an NIH National Research Mentoring Network Master Facilitator.
Project Manager and Development Engineer, Intuitive Machines
Amanda Acevedo is a development engineer and project manager at Intuitive Machines, an engineering design and development think tank, in Houston, TX. She performs software development and integration, provides technical leadership for projects in the aerospace, energy and medical sectors and serves as the director of student programs. After graduating from the University of Iowa nearly 20 years ago she worked at Argonne National Laboratory developing control system software for the ATLAS accelerator. She moved to Houston, TX in 1998 to work at NASA/Johnson Space Center where she worked on multiple manned spaceflight programs including, Space Shuttle, X38, AERCam and Orion. She joined the Intuitive Machines team in 2014.
Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Garcia-Ruiz is a virologist interested in the molecular mechanisms of viral RNA replication and in antiviral RNA silencing. Prior to UNL he worked at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, where he was a research scientist. Hernan completed his postdoctoral work at the Oregon State University Center for Genomics and Biocomputing, with support from a Helen Hay Whitney fellowship. At UNL Hernan is the State Virologist and teaches a Molecular Virology class. His research focuses on the interconnection between RNA replication and RNA silencing mechanisms in viruses using yeast and plants as model systems in combination with genomic and bioinformatics approaches.
Professor, University of California-Riverside
Victor G. J. Rodgers is the inaugural Jacques S. Yeager, Sr. Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, Riverside. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Rodgers has won numerous awards for teaching and research, including the Distinguished Engineering Educator Award from the Orange County Engineering Council; Distinguished Engineering Educator Award from the California Engineering Council; Black Achiever in Chemical Engineering Award from the Minority Affairs Committee of American Institute of Chemical Engineers; and the Distinguished Educator Award from the University of Iowa, where he began his career in academia. He earned his BSChE in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton; his MSChE in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh; and his DSc in chemical engineering with a biomedical engineering certificate from Washington University in St. Louis. Rodgers’ research focuses on applications of transport phenomena and thermodynamics in solving medical and bioscience-related problems. Consequently, he has extensive collaborations with faculty in medicine including those at The University of Iowa and the University of California, Riverside.
Professor, University of Iowa
Dr. Vincent Rodgers is a Professor in the Department of Physics. Dr. Rodgers is the director of the research group called – the Diffeomorphism and Geometry Group. The research conducted by this group spans several areas of mathematical and theoretical physics and includes the study of the nature of classical and quantum gravity, superstrings and supergravity, quantum field theories, and cosmology and the early universe. He has over 50 publications in his field and has given more than 70 invited talks. At present, his research group consists of four Ph.D. students and two undergraduate students. He also serves the co-director of the Cafe Scientifique of Iowa City, and co-coordinator of the Hawk-Eyes on Science – the outreach project of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Both he and Dr. Lori Adams direct the Iowa Biosciences Academy and the University of Iowa component of the IINSPIRE-LSAMP Program.
Founder, KIPNspire Group
Brian Thomas is an experienced manufacturing professional who has drive, determination, and proven success across multiple disciplines. Brian’s passion for education and knowledge sharing inspired him to found his organization KIPNspire Group “Where Knowledge Is Power”. Brian is a native of Dallas, Texas, and graduate of the University of Arkansas @ Pine Bluff (Summa Cum Laude). Brian has worked for multiple Fortune 500 organizations while continuing to motivate the masses through KIPNspire
Strategies for Effective Research Mentoring
This session was held for both faculty and students. The faculty session included an overview of evidence-based materials being disseminated and further developed through the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). Strategies for effective research mentoring were discussed and participants engaged in exemplar activities and learned how to effectively utilize the materials with their undergraduate research mentors. Undergraduates learned what a research mentor can do for them by comparing and contrasting the role of a research advisor with the role of a research mentor, discussed strategies to find a research mentor and make the most of a mentoring relationship, and learned to identify the mentoring style that suits their specific goals.
Entering Industry – Reaching for the Edges of Your Discipline
There are unique opportunities in industry today to make a profound impact. These opportunities are found in spaces that are no longer neatly aligned with the way companies traditionally organize teams and projects. There is an urgent need in the technology sector for team members who enjoy living on the edges of their discipline. Undergraduate students were informed about how a STEM education and career strategy can make them one of the most valuable members of any team.
Surviving Academic Research
Dr. Hernan Garcia-Ruiz discussed how his research ideas unfolded, the trials and trepidation, and how failure can be used to build even stronger research ideas. His own research served as the platform for the discussion that also addressed the link between financial support and research opportunities.
Pedagogy Workshop on Supporting the Whole Student
Multifaceted approaches to supporting students in STEM majors are the most effective strategies regardless of the student population but especially important for increasing the success of underrepresented minority students in STEM. Faculty, departments, and institutions have a number of options when it comes to creating a sense of belonging, strengthening mentoring and advising, and helping students feel comfortable seeking help. Workshop topics included strategies for supporting students in and out of the classroom, and building student capacity and continuity through their academic career. Program workAttendees worked together in groups to develop plans, consider how they can collaborate, and suggested ways the alliance can support them in their efforts. The workshop was based on material from the InTeGrate STEM Talent Expansion
Student Research Experiences Panel
Students who participated in an undergraduate research experience (REU) shared details about finding and applying for an REU, as well as the overall research experience. The audience had an opportunity to ask questions of the student panel.
Undergraduate Research: What is it Really?
Drs. Lori Adams, Hernan Garcia-Ruiz, and Victor Rodgers discussed the concept of research, setting realistic goals for research students, and what is expecting in the laboratory or through theory meetings.
Raising your “Batting Average” in the Job Market
This session included a panel of experts who hire students for internships, co-ops, and permanent employment for positions ranging from research to many corporate jobs seeking STEM majors. The experts discussed how students can increase their chances of getting offers for employment specifically in their program/company and more generally.
The “Read It” Theory to Success
Brian Thomas, the founder of KIPNspire Group, discussed the “Read It” Theory to Success. In a world of fitting in and constant connectivity, there is a simple theory can that can assist you on your path to success and separate you from the norm. Brian Thomas the Founder of KIPNspire presents to you, the “Read It” Theory to Success. Among the dirt roads, highways, and waterways to success, you will face many challenges. The theory simply provides the lay of the land. It’s up to YOU to navigate accordingly.
Sentipensante Pedagogy: Education for Wholeness, Social Justice, and Liberation
Faculty participants engaged in facilitated roundtable conversations related to what Laura Rendon calls the “Privileged Agreements Governing the Current Pedagogical Dreamfield” versus her proposed “Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy.”
Research Life-Balance: An Open Discussion from Students about their Coping Strategies
In the early part of the career, many research scientists report that struggle to maintain a reasonable work-life balance. This is brought on by the pressure to produce visible results, that help the scientist stand out in a very competitive environment as well as the sheer passion to do science. During this panel, students discussed how they deal with finances, their long-term goals and how they cope with the “Work-Life Balance” phenomenon.
Grad School and Beyond from Four Perspectives
During this panel discussion, graduate students provided information about what has made them successful in their respective field on their journey from undergrad, to graduate, post-doctorate, and professorship and everything in between. Undergraduate students asked the panel questions about their path or why they chose their career.
Students with the top three posters in two categories, Research and Experiential, were awarded cash prizes. The top prize in each category received $300.00, second place received $200.00, and third place $100.00. Faculty attending the event also voted for their favorite poster. The winner of the faculty favorite poster received a cash prize of $250.00.
Faculty, staff, and students also were recognized for their achievements in pursuit of achieving the IINSPIRE LSAMP mission and for their contributions to the program.
The Stokes Award of Outstanding Service is granted to individuals, team, or organizations associated with the IINSPIRE Alliance for service at an exemplary level, in pursuit of the LSAMP Alliance’s primary goal to increase the participation of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields.
The Excellence in Mentoring Award is presented to faculty, staff, and students who are actively involved with LSAMP students and assist students in setting and achieving their own academic, personal and professional goals.
Research/Internship Opportunities Fair
Organizations had the opportunity to share information with URM undergraduate STEM students from across the alliance at the research/internship opportunities fair and during other sessions. Click here for a complete list of exhibitors.