Cultivating STEM Identity for Student Success
The IINSPIRE Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation 2016-17 Annual Conference, Cultivating STEM Identity for Student Success, was held February 3-4, 2017 at the Scheman Building at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
The IINSPIRE Annual Conference featured invited speakers and concurrent programs of interest to both students and professionals. Students, faculty, staff, and other professionals are encouraged to attend.
Keynote & Invited Speakers
Mindsets Matter in Math
Catharine Good, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Students and their instructors are often unaware of how stereotypes about mathematics ability can affect participation, performance, and learning in mathematics. These effects are triggered—sometimes very subtly—by situations that evoke ability-impugning stereotypes about gender, race, or cultural groups. In this session, Dr. Good will discuss the ways in which stereotypes can disrupt learning and performance as well as healthy mindsets that can protect against the negative message of fixed ability.
I wasn’t born with a chip, I earned it!
Gabriel A. Montano, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Gabriel Montano shared his journey to find himself and the perceived “Chip on my shoulder” that his life and experiences provided him.
I grew up in Gallup, NM, a small town at the edge of the Navajo border in Northwest New Mexico. In Gallup, race was broken down along the line of: Indian/non-Indian. Being a Chicano of Mexican and Spanish descent, I grew up as a non-Indian member of the majority. I largely grew up protected from racism, racial profiling, prejudice and all that it came with, or so I thought… I was comfortable with my heritage even if I didn’t fully appreciate it. As I grew up I did what a lot of minority students do as they enter the unknown territory of advanced education and all that it encompasses. I pushed my heritage to the side, I tried as hard as possible to assimilate into the new world of academia I found myself in, one that predicated equality upon the premise of existing as “colorblind”. In short, I lost myself and anything recognizable to my family. As I continued my journey, I started finding that no matter how much I tried to limit my outward presentation to the world, the world would always see a Chicano and that Chicano represented different things to different people: success, diversity but also fear and undeserved recognition. I also found that in my lack of embracing who I truly was I was severely limiting my own potential. My strength as a scientist did not come from trying to assimilate to what “I thought” the scientific community wanted me to be, my strength came from my unique attributes and the cultural identity I brought as a Chicano from Indian Country.
Your Emotions Can Work For You
Sunday Faronbi, Rehoboth Consulting
Do you recognize your emotions and why you’re having them? Do you know their impact on you? On others? On your success in life? Do you know that your emotions are much more than those temper tantrums you have? Your level of emotional intelligence will go a long way to determine your success as a STEM professional. There’s a reason you react to situations the way you do. In this session titled “Your Emotions Can Work for You”, Sunny Faronbi will take you on a journey to discover why you respond to situations the way you have until now. You will learn how to start using your emotions to enhance your relationships, both personally and professionally. You will discover how to work on improving your emotional intelligence so that it can work for you.
Beyond the GPA
Brian Thomas, KIPNspire Group
Today’s world of careers stretches beyond the cubicle. There are critical skills, techniques, and social navigation that is required to secure employment. “Beyond the GPA” will highlight Industry requirements that are Written and Un-Written and provide the path to success for future pioneers. The key area of focus include 1) Personal Brad Management; 2) Networking Towards Success; 3) Interviewing to Greatness, and 4) Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness.
Highlighted Conference Sessions
Key Actions For Successful Mentors of Graduate Students and Undergraduate Researchers – What Do the Data Tell Us?
Because good mentoring helps cultivate a strong STEM identify, mentoring is central to graduate education, and to the success of undergraduate research assistants. In this talk, Dr. Raj Raman, Brandi Geisinger, Mari Kemis, and Arlene de la Mora (Iowa State University) discussed what they’ve learned regarding mentoring behaviors that enhance the success of graduate and undergraduate student researchers. They developed an instrument to identify key mentoring behaviors of participants in research experience for undergraduate programs (REUs), and then built upon their results to develop a stronger instrument that was distributed to graduate students at ISU. They used exploratory factor analysis (principal axis factoring) with promax rotation, and conducted confirmatory factor analysis to confirm the factor structure. They discussed the components of effective mentoring in detail, as well as the implications for training new mentors and improving the mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students. [P] In the latter part of the talk, they discussed the key components of effective mentoring and engaged the audience in reflecting on specific examples of how each behavior might be manifested in their own work.
Counter-Storytelling: Students of Color STEM Identities
Tyanez Jones and Doug Elrick ‘s (Iowa State University) session focused on the initial STEM identity development of students of color (SOC) attending a predominantly white institution (PWI). The theoretical framework for this work was Critical Race Theory counter stories which gave voice to the students’ lived experiences regarding the factors that influenced their STEM identity. As part of a course project, the researchers identified first-year college students, who had participated in a pre-college STEM program, that were majoring in a STEM field. The students were asked to complete a brief survey about who and what influenced them to major in a STEM discipline. Based on their survey responses, in-depth interviews were conducted with a subset of the survey respondents. The results from the students’ narratives indicate that there were key experiences, events, and individuals that influenced them to major in a STEM field. Student involvement in the pre-college, extracurricular STEM program had a direct and indirect impact on their STEM identify and provided valuable social capital. Positive external influences on creating STEM identities included teachers and families. Their teachers, who then provided greater influencing encouragement, recognized this capital. Family members also were influential by providing examples and involvement in the extracurricular program.
Leveraging an Undergraduate Job Into Social, Personal, and Academic Success
Though undergrad is especially difficult for underrepresented students in general, STEM is particularly so. Speakers Chard Harper and Cora Touchstone (Grinnell College) found that peer educating is a strong way to mitigate the social obstacles of studying STEM. They discussed the dynamics of being a peer educator. The discussion included: how peer educator work at the undergraduate level can be leveraged into post-graduate opportunities, challenges of being a peer educator, and participants experiences of peer education as underrepresented students. The aim of this discussion was to encourage peer education among minorities and to highlight how doing so increases positive STEM identity.
Additional information about conference sessions is available in the conference program book.
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.