Created to support diverse students interested in the sciences, Smith College’s Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (AEMES) programs have improved life science academic outcomes for women of color. Elements of Smith’s AEMES programs include leadership development, peer mentoring, and faculty-mentored research opportunities, all sharing the goals of building community, increasing academic engagement, and encouraging persistence for underrepresented students. Since launching AEMES, our students of color in the life sciences have shown significant gains in positive outcomes (introductory biology and chemistry course GPA; retention in life sciences majors), dissolving a previously observed gap in gateway course performance relative to majority students. We discuss potential explanations for these outcomes as well as our ongoing work to evaluate and foster programming efforts aimed at achieving further inclusive excellence in the sciences, especially given the lack of change in advanced life sciences research participation for students of color over time. With greater investments in programs that encourage access in undergraduate programs across the United States, such as Smith’s AEMES program, the next generation of scientists will become increasingly diverse, broadening the approaches and perspectives of our STEM talent and workforce.
Katz, Laura A.; Aloisio, Kathryn M.; Flores, Yadira; Horton, Nicholas J.; Joseph, Valerie; Lipp, Katie; Ly, Minh; Pruss, Sara; Queeny, Kate; Rowen, Cate; and DiBartolo, Patricia Marten, "Improving outcomes for underrepresented women in science: The Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (AEMES) programs at Smith College" (2014). Conference Proceeding, Smith College, Northampton, MA.