North Carolina State University, NC

  

We are developing a strategic, targeted approach to boosting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by acting through the introductory physics labs, which serve most STEM students at our institution. The lab courses are currently being transformed to improve access and availability to lab learning experiences, boost the self-efficacy and sense of belonging for students who take the labs, and make connections between scientific topics and broader social, historical, and political issues to help students see how science can serve as a powerful tool in their lives and communities. Our momentum gained momentum. We wouldn’t have arrived here without intentionally building momentum around an issue we knew was intersectional and required an innovative approach. From the original Spring 2022 pilot, the program now stands to be elevated into a larger coordination between NMSU Dean of Students and you.nmsu.edu. The program leveraged recent grants awarded by the New Mexico Higher Education Department for Mental and Behavioral Health Initiatives starting in FY23. The funding will also offer an opportunity to connect the program with NMSU School of Nursing. The graduate assistants leading the Wellness Initiative can conduct evidence-informed research, for thesis or publication, with the support of academic advisors. This work also provides increased groundwork for minoritized STEM students to participate in convergence research—one of the NSF’s 10 Big Ideas.
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