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Series Overview

The STEM+DEI Speaker Series offers students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to engage with diverse perspectives outside of the JMU community. Speakers are selected from other academic institutions and explore topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, anti-racism, and related areas.

Next Session

Our next session will be in Spring 2023. Be sure to check back then for updates! 

Previous Events

September 28, 2022

Speaker: Dr. Brandon Jones, Program Director for the education and diversity efforts in the National Science Foundation’s Geosciences Directorate

Title: Change in Science: The Method or the Enterprise 

Abstract: For decades the Earth and Space Science (ESS) community has lagged behind other STEM fields in creating a workforce that reflects the diversity of the United States.  As our scientific research community grapples with a myriad of changes in our Earth system, there must also be a reckoning about how to center the “humane” in the enterprise.  But how can we address societal issues more humanely when our workforce and scientific community is not reflective of society?  Our ESS community has a long history of investing in programs and strategies to bring students and scientists from marginalized groups into our classrooms and workspaces.  However, we have not put an equal effort into ensuring those places are where every individual can show up with their full selves.  To make progress on creating a workforce that is truly reflective of the greater population, a cultural transformation is needed.  This transformation requires not only a commitment from our community, but also sound grounding in social science literature on belonging, accessibility, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Afterall, scientific research does not conduct itself.

Session Recording

(requires login with JMU credentials) 

April 8, 2022

Session Title: On Becoming Better Mentors and Advocates in STEM

Speaker: Dr. Pamela Harris Associate Professor of Mathematics & Faculty Fellow of the Davis Center and the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Williams College

Abstract: In this talk, I discuss some of my past mentoring experiences and their effects on my self-confidence and my career progression. Based on these experiences I share concrete ideas on how to build better mentoring relationships. I also detail how becoming advocates for systemic and cultural changes in STEM fields provides another way to help create environments in which members of groups who have been historically underrepresented and underserved can thrive authentically in the STEM community. 

November 8, 2021

Session Title: From Change to Practice: Using Data to Drive Systemic Changes to Chemistry Curriculum

Speaker: Dr. Benny Chan, Chair/Professor, The College of New Jersey

Abstract: The changing demographics of the NJ student population towards more first generation and students of color was forecasted by decades of census data.  Change is hard.  Change is complex.  Coupling the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a seismic shift in student preparation that requires a paradigm shift in our teaching. Luckily, The College of New Jersey’s School of Science was already engaged in doing systemic changes to our curriculum to make the courses more inclusive and student centered. The Chemistry Department has developed our vision and mission to be as inclusive as possible so that we can increase the numbers of successful and thriving students in our majors and chemical professionals.

April 16, 2021

Session Title: Equity and Advocating in STEM: There is still more to do

Speaker: Dr. Aris Winger, Assistant Professor, Georgia Gwinnett College 

Abstract: Dr. Aris Winger, Co-author of "Asked and Answered: Advocating for Students of Color in Mathematics will engage participants with a discussion about what equity, belonging, and advocating looks like in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  This work can be challenging and easily ignored. The talk is an invitation to all of us to look to places that have too often been unseen. We need to go past our discomfort to allow for a possibility for all people in STEM to achieve a greater sense of achievement and validation than they ever have. 

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