STEM Scholar Community highlights diversity during their panel on March 31

The STEM Scholar community will be hosting a Diversity in STEM panel on March 31st featuring various professors from UConn to discuss diversity. Photo courtesy of the STEM Scholars EBoard

Are you someone in STEM? Or interested in the STEM field? The STEM Scholar Community is holding an event on Wednesday, March 31 at 6 p.m. to discuss diversity with a panel of various professors from the University of Connecticut.  

Eighth-semester molecular and cell biology major Eduardo Badillo-Colberg was the one who originally thought of hosting a panel to discuss diversity.  

“My vision for the event was more highlighting the diversity in STEM,” he said. “I didn’t think of a lack of diversity, but highlighting comes with also highlighting the fact that there is a lack of diversity in certain areas in STEM, for example less women in engineering and less Latinos and people of color in all the sciences.”  

The panel which will consist of seven professors, all of whom are part of a cultural center, is focused on discussing this issue as well as other topics students are specifically interested in. In fact, if a student RSVPs, asks a question and attends the event, they will be entered in a raffle to win a $25 Amazon gift card.  

The STEM Scholar Community works to give STEM students a place at UConn where they can feel at home.  

“The idea of STEM Scholar’s is that we’re a smaller community within the Honors Program,” said Jason Gordon, advisor for the STEM Scholar e-board. “[The goal is] to bring a diverse range of incoming freshmen and to help motivate them and support them throughout their academic careers.”  

The 300 members in the community have an opportunity for a merit-based scholarship, which is largely funded by Next Generation CT, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s initiative to expand educational opportunities in the STEM field at UConn over the next decade.  

Roshni Mehta, a sixth-semester MCB and French double major, loves being in the STEM Scholar Community because of the people it has introduced her to. 

“My favorite part about being a STEM Scholar is the community that STEM Scholars has given us. Especially in a place like UConn where there are so many different types of people and majors, it can kind of feel overwhelming,” she said. “Having a very small community once you begin as a freshman can make it feel more like a home away from home, where it’s easier to make connections and meet people.”  

“We want to work towards the common goals of making sure we are enhancing stem experiences for all stem majors across all disciplines.”

Jason Gordon, Advisor for the STEM Scholar EBoard

In addition to the community component, Badillo-Colberg mentions the numerous resources that he’s been exposed to through STEM Scholars.  

“I got along very well with my first advisor (Kaitlin Heenehan) within the STEM Scholar Community,” he said. “There was a time where I went almost weekly because I needed someone to talk to and it was always with them STEM Scholars; that’s where I found my home. I always had a great time with the e-board and the broader community.”  

Both Mehta and Badillo-Colberg describe their fellow peers as a group of people with similar motivations and interests who all work to uplift each other.  

STEM Scholars works with the admission office to roll out invitations to incoming freshmen. While it is not a place students can apply into, STEM Scholars is working towards collaborating with numerous different organizations on campus.  

“We want to work with and represent a number of different organizations and communities across Honors and across campus,” said Gordon. “We want to work towards the common goals of making sure we are enhancing STEM experiences for all STEM majors across all disciplines.”  

The e-board and members strive to integrate the STEM community into the overall larger community.  

“I wanted for that [STEM] community to engage with others in order to show what we have to offer, and also offer a branch of support to those who are in STEM who might not be Honors or might not be part of the STEM Scholar Community, but we still have a place for collaboration always,” said Badillo-Colberg. 

If you are interested in attending their Diversity Panel, make sure to RSVP here and to learn more, check out their Instagram @uconnstemscholars.   

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