First Place: University of Missouri, MO

The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on STEM graduate students includes increased mental health challenges and diminished opportunities for socialization and finding community on campus. These increased barriers to success are particularly problematic for Scholars of Color who are historically underrepresented and minoritized throughout their experiences in education. The University of Missouri is addressing these issues by coordinating peer-led Grad Welcome Groups to support students during the transition to graduate school and establishing a new Graduate Student Success Center that will serve as a social and intellectual hub. Central to our efforts is the Grad Huddle, a cohort-based program that will facilitate meaningful interactions and support for STEM graduate students who are underrepresented in their discipline. The establishment of a strong community that supports all facets of the graduate student experience at MU will increase the sense of belonging of URM graduate students in STEM to subsequently improve student retention, well-being, and self-efficacy in pursuing a STEM career. Learn more here

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