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Creating Pathways of Kindness and Inclusion in STEM Education
An ongoing tension exists between breaking apart and coming together that happens at every level of the biosphere, including among people. STEM education has historically focused on providing knowledge to integrate people into an academic community. Data shows that not all people became equally integrated into this academic community. With all this in mind, Dr. Estrada will describe findings from her research program in which she longitudinally tracks and examines what types of mentorship, experiences and supports are more likely to result in students integrating into their professional fields and persisting in STEM career pathways. She will describe findings regarding persons historically excluded because of ethnicity and race. Further, she will talk about how institutional policies and climate that provide kindness cues that affirm social inclusion may impact the integration experience for historically underrepresented college students, faculty and administrators in STEM training and professional settings.
Dr. Mica Estrada received her doctorate in Social Psychology from Harvard University and now is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research program focuses on social influence, including the study of identity, values, kindness, well-being, and integrative education. Currently she is engaged in several longitudinal studies, which involve implementing and assessing interventions – such as science training programs, mentorship and curriculum changes — aimed to increase student persistence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers (funded by NIH, NSF, and HHMI). Dr. Estrada’s work focuses on ethnic populations that are historically underrepresented in higher education, most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and are providing diverse and creative solutions to the pressing challenges of our day. As a leading scholar on issues of diversity and inclusion, she serves on National Academies’ committees, was a Leadership Institute Fellow with the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) in 2013 and received the Adolphus Toliver Award for Outstanding Research in 2016.