Empowering and Advancing Women and Underrepresented Students in STEM

Instructor Name: 
Marilyn Rampersad Mackiewicz
Course Description: 


This capstone will focus on building skills in effective communication, negotiation, leadership, networking, mentoring, and professional development (leading focus groups and interviewing). These are skills traditionally not learned in a classroom and are essential to advancing successful STEM careers. Capstone students will work in teams to design, implement, and evaluate a 1-day workshop to coach and transfer STEM career preparation skills to students in the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering program” (ASE). 


By the end of this course, students will be able to: 


•    Critically analyze the barriers to equity and the implicit bias in STEM fields (critical thinking, diversity) 

•    Describe the impacts of the lack of diversity and inclusivity in STEM fields (critical thinking, diversity) 

•    Describe diversity solutions to increase the number of women and underrepresented professionals in the STEM workforce and in leadership positions (critical thinking, diversity)  

•    Reflect on the role and responsibility of mentors, sponsors, and advisors in empowering and advancing underrepresented groups into leadership positions in the STEM workforce (social and ethical responsibility)

•     Strengthen their organizational, communication, and presentation skills by synthesizing, implementing, and evaluating a 1-day workshop that addresses the professional needs of students transitioning from high school to college.  (communication, critical thinking, ethics and social responsibility, diversity of human experience)

•    Assemble a focus group with the ASE students in the community to assess their professional development needs (ethics and social responsibility, diversity of human experience)

•    Expand and translate essential professional development skills such as effective communication, successful research internships, networking, work-life integration, leadership, and time management to empower and advance student learning and success in STEM (critical thinking, diversity of human experience)



Project Description: 

This capstone will produce 2 main forms of a final product that will be shared with our community partner: 

Focus Group: The capstone group will create and conduct a focus group where the ASE students are the participants. The focus group will be 2 h long in Week 2 of the Fall 2017 term. The students will create a series of questions that are designed to elicit thinking by the ASE students about what professional development skills would be most useful for them as STEM students as they transition from high school to college level. Examples of questions capstone students could ask include: 1) What are your career goals? 2) How important are leadership skills to you? 2) How do you manage your time? 3) What skills would you like to develop in order to be successful in STEM careers? And 4) Can you give examples of mentors for you in the STEM field? At the conclusion of the focus group, the Capstone students will write a final reflection paper about the focus group (challenges, opportunities, and solutions) that will be made available to the ASE community partner. This feedback will be used to build and implement the workshop at the end of the term to fill the needs of the ASE students on their professional development.


Professional Development Workshop: Capstone students will design, implement, and evaluate a 1-day workshop with activities that will help coach the ASE students in professional development skills for successful STEM careers. The workshop will focus on the mentorship, networking, leadership, time management, effective communication, success in research internships etc. We will incorporate feedback from the focus group to help design and implement the workshop.