University of Massachusetts Launches the STEM Diversity Institute

sandra-l-petersenThe University of Massachusetts at Amherst has established a new STEM Diversity Institute to coordinate all programs throughout the university seeking to attract and retain women and minority students in STEM disciplines. Sandra L. Petersen, a professor of veterinary science, was named executive director of the new institute.

Professor Petersen stated, “We’ll bring together the various projects we already have on campus that focus on diversifying academia, and facilitate participation by all in the science workforce. We want to encourage women, people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and those with disabilities to enter disciplines such as physics, chemistry, engineering and math, and help them stay through their entire careers.”

Dr. Petersen went on to say, “Success entails identifying talented students from underrepresented groups and providing a community for them and helping them navigate around obstacles they encounter in their academic careers. For all, it’s a major cultural adjustment. But through experience we’ve found we can help by providing professional development activities, advising and coaching on job interview skills, mentoring and providing a place where they can go to ask questions to find personal and professional support.”

Dr. Petersen earned her Ph.D. at Oregon State University.

Filed Under: STEM Fields


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