Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2017

Publication Title

Life Sciences Education


Created to foster inclusive excellence, Smith College’s Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (AEMES) Scholars program provides early faculty-mentored research opportunities and other programming as a way to foster success in academic outcomes for underrepresented women in science. Using academic record data, we compared Scholars’ outcomes over time with those of underrepresented students before program launch and to relevant peer comparison groups. Since its launch, AEMES Scholars have achieved significantly higher gateway life sciences course grade point averages (GPAs), rates of persistence in life and natural sciences, and participation in natural sciences advanced research relative to baseline. Gains for Scholars in gateway course GPA eliminated the significant gap that previously existed between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-underrepresented and other students, whereas gains in natural sciences persistence now has Scholars continuing in STEM at significantly higher rates than all other students. Many of the gains for AEMES Scholars were echoed in findings of improved outcomes for our STEM students overall since AEMES’ launch. Underrepresented students who were not part of the Scholars program also evidenced increased gateway course GPA over this same period. We discuss potential explanations for these outcomes and ongoing work aimed at achieving further inclusive excellence for women in the sciences.








CBE—Life Sciences Education (LSE) ©2016 by The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). Individual articles are distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s), who retain copyright. The material in LSE is available for non-commercial use by the general public under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( Under this license, the content may be used at no charge for noncommercial purposes by the general public, provided that: the authorship of the materials is attributed to the author(s) (in a way that does not suggest that the authors endorse the users or any user's use); users include the terms of this license in any use or distribution they engage in; users respect the fair use rights, moral rights, and rights that the authors and any others have in the content.


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