search button
newscenter logo
Monday, October 18, 2021

Follow SDSU Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook SDSU RSS Feed

SDSU and University of California San Diego are collaborating to provide the region’s underrepresented researchers with opportunities for mentorship, networking and institutional support. SDSU and University of California San Diego are collaborating to provide the region’s underrepresented researchers with opportunities for mentorship, networking and institutional support.
 


New San Diego Partnership Supports Diversity and Excellence in STEM

SDSU and University of California San Diego scientists and scholars are working together to make San Diego a “regional center for inclusive excellence.”
By Kellie Woodhouse
 

“Our goal is to build a regional center of gravity for inclusive excellence with a strong network of committed and talented faculty across the diverse fields of STEM...”

In line with a national effort to increase female and racial minority representation in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, scientists and scholars at two San Diego public universities are teaming up to provide the region’s underrepresented researchers opportunities for mentorship, networking and institutional support.

The Multi-Campus Transformation and Equity Network (MCTEN) — an initiative at San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego funded by a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) — seeks to counter the isolation and stress some underrepresented faculty experience and create more equitable environments that support their academic careers. 

“We want San Diego to be recognized as a place where academics in STEM want to come work, because they know there are opportunities here to be fully supported and have the career that they want,” said SDSU biologist Rebecca Lewison, a co-leader of the initiative. 

“Our goal is to build a regional center of gravity for inclusive excellence,” Lewison continued, “with a strong network of committed and talented faculty across the diverse fields of STEM that are ready to transform and innovate their fields of study.”

Providing support

Since its launch last fall, MCTEN has held focus groups with roughly 50 SDSU faculty to identify the changes needed to help underrepresented faculty. It has hosted networking events and weekly writing groups, strengthening the community and network opportunities for faculty within and across campuses

MCTEN is also supporting this year’s Women in STEM event on Feb. 15-16. This annual SDSU event brings nationally renowned scientists and engineers for two days of programming with faculty, graduates and undergraduates.

This year’s event features Lilia A. Abron, the first Black woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in Chemical Engineering and a member of the Engineering Advisory Board for the NSF, who will discuss the experiences of minority female scientists. 

The event includes a screening of “Picture a Scientist,” an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival that highlights top women scientists and the gender barriers they have faced. 

By bringing people from different universities together, the initiative is creating a larger pool of underrepresented scientists with similar and shared experiences who can support one another. These community networks can be critical to job satisfaction and success. 

The partnership also supports the sharing of best practices across the two campuses and with other campuses in the California State University and University of California systems. 

“By working together, we can amplify effective policies across the San Diego region,” said Mary Blair-Loy, director of UCSD’s Center for Research on Gender in STEMM and co-leader of the MCTEN initiative. “We hope to scale up, too — inspiring and influencing equitable and inclusive academic communities throughout the state and the nation.”