From Me to We: Q&A with Dr. Ala R. Qubbaj, Dr. Marie T. Mora, and Dr. Marci R. McMahon

By Jenna Rush posted 12-05-2019 03:57 PM


Q&A with Dr. Ala R. Qubbaj, Dr. Marie T. Mora, and Dr. Marci R. McMahon

From Me to We: Building the NSF INCLUDES National Network

Welcome to the blog series From Me to We: Building the NSF INCLUDES National Network! In this series, we feature the work of different members of the NSF INCLUDES National Network. This post highlights Dr. Ala R. Qubbaj, Dr. Marie T. Mora, and Dr. Marci R. McMahon, and their work with the NSF INCLUDES Symposium for ADVANCING Latinas in STEM Academic Careers.

Part 1 of the NSF INCLUDES Symposium for ADVANCING Latinas in STEM Academic CareersPlease tell us about your work, the broadening participation challenge it addresses, and a recent project highlight or accomplishment.
Our project, NSF INCLUDES Symposium for ADVANCING Latinas in STEM Academic Careers, focuses on broadening the participation and advancement of Latinas in STEM.The symposium supports gender and ethnic diversity in STEM faculty to provide a broader range of role models, help prepare students to participate in an increasingly diverse workforce, weaken stereotypes, and improve the range of perspectives informing academic learning as well as higher education policy. The project is funded by NSF INCLUDES.

Our project centers on a two-part convening that aims to support the dissemination of research and facilitation of networking activities geared toward the implementation of programs and initiatives that affect the advancement of Latinas across STEM academic careers, as well as to build capacities for enhancing STEM pathways. Through keynote speakers, sessions, and panels, our symposium shares:
  • best practices and lessons learned to enhance the success of Latinas, a significantly underrepresented group in STEM academic careers;
  • how inclusive academic climates that take into account the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity affect the success of Latinas, other women, and other under-represented groups in STEM careers; and
  • research on how attitudes and behaviors, policies, and practices at institutions of higher education affect the professional success of Latinas, other women, and other under-represented groups in STEM.
We were delighted to partner with several organizations for Part 1 of the symposium, which took place in May 2019:
  • Latina Researchers Network
  • NSF INCLUDES National Network
  • ADVANCE Implementation Mentors Network
  • ADVANCE Regional Network
  • Higher Education Research Consortium, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Women’s Faculty Network

93% of the post-symposium survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed what they learned from the symposium will help them to make positive changes in supporting Latinas in STEM at their own institution/place of employment and/or professional discipline. We are currently in discussion with additional organizations for this year’s symposium, including Latinas in STEM, GeoLatinas, and Latinas in Earth and Planetary Sciences, among other networks. Additionally, we have plans to co-edit a book based on presentations and panel discussions given at both symposiums. Stay tuned!

Our team brings our combined experience instituting gender and ethnic diversity initiatives in academia. For example, our 2014 NSF ADVANCE symposium on dual career policies and practices at The University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) led to our co-editing Advancing Women in Academic STEM Fields through Dual Career Policies and Practices (Information Age Publishing, 2018). Dr. Ala R. Qubbaj is the PI & Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UTRGV. Dr. Marie T. Mora is the Co-PI and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Dr. Marci R. McMahon is an Associate Professor affiliated with the Gender and Women’s Studies & Mexican American Studies programs at UTRGV.

Dr. Marci R. McMahon, Dr. Marie T. Mora, and Dr. Ala R. Qubbaj at the 2019 NSF INCLUDES National Network ConveningHave you found any resources or made any new connections in the NSF INCLUDES Network that have helped you advance your work?
At the May 2019 NSF INCLUDES National Network Convening, we were excited to see the many synergies between our work and other NSF INCLUDES-funded projects, and we look forward to collaborating with various entities moving forward. Some of these are the ASPIRE Alliance, the CAHSI Alliance, and Affinity Groups including Indigenous STEM and Exploring STEM Pathways, K-12 to Career.

What other opportunities for collaboration do you see in the INCLUDES Network?
We invite the NSF INCLUDES community to participate in Part 2 of our symposium as presenters, panelists, and attendees! The symposium will take place May 28-29, 2020 in South Padre Island, Texas. It will build on Part 1 to focus on Pipelines & Pathways, STEAM (STEM & Arts/Humanities synergies), Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Recruitment, Retention, and Climate.

In addition to members of the NSF INCLUDES National Network, the ADVANCE network, and other NSF Broadening Participation programs, we welcome participation from faculty and administrators from Hispanic-Serving Institutions and other institutions of higher education, as well as professional organizations and programs focused on creating pipelines and pathways leading to STEM academic and professional careers for Latinas. This year’s program will also include opportunities for students to network and share their research and experiences.

Be on the lookout for our Call for Presentations, which we will share with the Network in December. We welcome further ideas for collaboration from the NSF INCLUDES community! For information about our symposium, please visit our website at, or contact and


Thank you, Marci, Marie, and Ala! We encourage Network members working in intersecting areas to contact them using the Network’s Member Directory!

We are excited to feature other perspectives throughout this series. Contact the Coordination Hub at if you are interested in contributing a post!