Two students lean over DIY projects at a table outside

STUDENT COMMUNITY BUILDING

Oberlin's Inclusive Excellence initiative is changing the ways STEM curriculum is delivered and how community for STEM learning is built. Increasing persistence in STEM among not traditionally represented requires faculty and staff to address students' sense of belonging. Social climate and support networks are critical to student success and persistence in STEM in the classroom, departmental and institutional levels.

OBERLIN HHMI'S POST-GRADUATE STEM FELLOW

 

Bridging the curricular and co-curricular aspects of the Oberlin education, the STEM Fellow is a central part of Oberlin HHMI's Inclusive Excellence initiative

Work includes:

  • Contributions to Inclusive Excellence grant implementation team

  • Participation in the campus-wide learning communities

  • Collaboration with the Center for Learning, Education and Research in Sciences (CLEAR) to coordinate peer-led instruction and tutoring through the Oberlin Workshop and Learning Sessions (OWLS) and the Quantitative Skills (QS) Center.

  • Promotes students' professional development with programming, informal networking, and community building

  • Connecting critical campus partners, such as the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC), the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), and the Career Development Center (CDC) with students and faculty.

  • Organizing focus groups and listening sessions with targeted student groups and works to identify ways to increase mentoring and community building between faculty and students. 

Past Fellows include:

  • Nicollette Mitchell, OC '13, Geology - Served fall 2017

  • Ave Bisesi, OC '17, Biology - Served fall 2018 to spring 2020

  • Marcus Hill, OC '19,  Geology, is the current STEM Fellow for the '20-22 Academic Years.

 

 

 

 

STRONG 2019 Grad.jpg

Marcus Hill was a member of the first cohort of STRONG Scholars where he worked with the Geology department and began his 4-year journey through STEM at Oberlin. Pictured above are group photos with him and fellow geoscience majors who participated in the National Association for Black Geoscientists (with Nicollette Mitchell, then HHMI STEM Fellow) in 2017 and celebrating graduation with fellow STRONG Scholars in May 2019.

CLEAR COMMUNITY BUILDING

Previous HHMI funding launched the Center for Learning, Education and Research in the Sciences (CLEAR)  in 2012-13. Core activities of CLEAR include:

  • Student-staffed Quantitative Skills (QS) Drop-in Center providing academic support for students in any STEM courses

  • OWLS and HOOTs (Oberlin Workshop and Learning Sessions), course-specific peer-mentoring programs serving classes from introductory level to 300's

  • Promoting interdisciplinary learning by offering faculty-development workshops and competitive curriculum-development grants.

All peer mentoring programs are highly regarded by students and faculty alike! Student development for both mentors and students participating with these programs is a central focus for CLEAR.

The HHMI Inclusive Excellence initiative has also co-sponsored a number of student community-building activities, including:

  • Affinity group meetings for queer and trans, Black, Latinx, and disabled students, student athletes, and women in STEM

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration with student representatives of STEM majors

  • Inclusive pedagogy workshop  hosted by Dr. Sehoya Cotner for OWLS and QS Center tutors

  • A Roadmap to Research event during fall 2018 in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Office of Fellowships and Awards

  • Two professional development workshops on facilitation skills for student leaders held during spring 2019 and fall 2019

Neuroscience students in Associate Professor Gunnar Kwakye's lab pose stand in their lab during Lab Crawl while Professor Kwakye completes experiments behind them.

Staff celebrate CLEAR's Lab Crawl, an event designed to introduce students to possible research opportunities on campus, in Star Wars-themed costumes. 

Biology students in Professor Yolanda Cruz's lab pose outside their lab during Law Crawl where they give short presentations to other students on their research and how to join the lab.

THE STUDENT LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE

The Student Leadership Committee was formed in spring 2020 in an effort to center student voices in the development and implementation of the HHMI Inclusive Excellence grant initiatives at Oberlin. The committee is comprised of six student leaders of diverse backgrounds dedicated to improving the equity and inclusion of STEM at Oberlin.

 

Learn more about the Student Leadership Committee and the students who have been a part of it. 

Prior to the formation of the Student Leadership Committee in spring 2020, the HHMI leadership team collaborated with two informal student advisory boards in spring 2018 and spring 2019, comprised primarily by student volunteers invested in STEM equity. Based on the feedback received from these advisory boards, the HHMI leadership team moved to implement a formal paid position with increased structure to improve the experience of student advisors, thus resulting in the Student Leadership Committee.