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NASEM Summit Highlights the Power of a Cohort in STEMM

By: Debra L. Bouyer
Thursday, July 22, 2021

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) hosted a summit on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism in 21st Century STEMM Organizations on June 29-30, 2021, examining the effects of systemic racism in STEMM education and the workforce for individuals belonging to historically excluded communities.  The Planning Committee was led by Gilda A. Barabino, PhD, and Keith R. Yamamoto, PhD, along with members Marielena DeSanctis, PhD; Susan T. Fiske, PhD; Juan E. Gilbert, PhD; Darryl Monteau, EdD; Roderic I. Pettigrew, PhD, MD; Kecia M. Thomas, PhD; and Layne Scherer, staff officer. 

The summit offered several sessions intended to educate and inspire us to do better. One session, “The Importance of Diversity Explored,” focused on understanding the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia, industry, and government. Speaker Latonia Harris, PhD, Scientific Director at Johnson & Johnson, shared her story of feeling alone as one of the few students of color in her chemical engineering class at the University of Michigan.  Demonstrating the need for diverse students to have good support systems, Dr. Harris and her classmates formed a peer network to reduce the feeling of isolation. This strong community of peer support empowered Dr. Harris and her classmates to earn post-graduate degrees and excel in their careers with prominent organizations.

FASEB understands the importance of providing a continuum of training and career support for underrepresented minority researchers in the biomedical research community.  In our continued effort to advance diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion within the sciences, FASEB strives to change the scientific landscape through innovative programming and professional development opportunities for our researchers from historically excluded communities.