Being Human in STEM
Featuring Dr. Sheila Jaswal, Amherst College
January 16, 2020
Seminar - 12PM-1:30PM at Rackham Amphitheater
Reception - 2-4PM at CHEM 1706
Event Sponsored by the Department of Biophysics
When student protesters occupied the Amherst College library for four days in November of 2015, the campus community was transfixed by the painful testimonials shared by marginalized students about their experiences at Amherst as individuals identifying as Black, brown, female, queer, trans, disabled, international, among others. In response to letters from a Black neuroscience major and a non-binary biochemistry and biophysics major, every STEM department wrote a letter of support, pledging to work with students to address their concerns. The following semester, Chemistry professor Sheila Jaswal collaborated with students to develop a project-based course, titled “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM), to actively engage STEM students and departments in learning about and enhancing inclusion in STEM settings. Now in its sixth iteration, students drive the academic inquiry, investigating both the local experience and the literature on diversity in STEM. They then use that research to design tools and interventions to share with and enhance their own STEM community. In this seminar, Professor Jaswal will describe how HSTEM course projects and activities have continued the conversation started by students during the Uprising, connected STEM inclusion efforts across the Amherst campus, and produced resources such as the “Inclusive Curricular Practices” handbook, that have been used by STEM educators from high schools, colleges, universities, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence institutions. She will present evidence on the impact of the HSTEM course and practices on students, faculty and staff at Amherst, and provide examples of how a growing network of institutions, including Yale, Brown, Williams, and the University of Utah, are adapting the HSTEM model to their own STEM community needs.