This fall, UConn has become one of over 50 universities and organizations across the United States participating in The Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research on Women and Girls of Color by committing more than $200,000 to the cause. The initiative was designed to address a critical void in research, and is an exciting opportunity for UConn to be on the front lines, working together with a national community of thinkers and leaders. The Collaborative was launched jointly by the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, an “interdisciplinary center… with a mission of advancing justice through intersectional scholarship,” according to the center’s website. Other partners include the American Association of University Women, Brown University and Duke University, as listed on the Collaborative’s website.
The university’s financial commitment has funded the research projects of 15 UConn faculty, graduate and undergraduate students this semester. They are specifically related either to lack of women and girls of color in STEM fields, or environmental, public health and intersectional issues. Projects range from Ph.D. student Danielle Kloster studying barriers to participation in the environmental movement, to Professor John Settlage studying hurdles to quality STEM education.
The initiative’s implementation has been designed to benefit the entire UConn community and provides opportunities to take part as well. It has also led to the development of two new undergraduate courses, “Gender, Culture and Science” this fall and one on public health and environmental issues in the spring, as both classes relate to women and girls of color. Throughout the year, there will be lectures and research workshops open to the entire university community, along with a Research Symposium in the Spring, according to UConn Today .
As UConn continues to grow as a research university, it is important that it seeks opportunities and partnerships beyond those strictly related to STEM. The newly launched Discourse Project, Humility and Conviction in Public Life, at UConn’s Humanities Institute is another such example. Both the Discourse Project and the Collaborative are particularly exciting, as they recognize and seek to expand the societal benefits of humanities and social science research, while simultaneously offering more direct opportunities for students to become involved.