We Want Diversity, Why Does Inclusion Matter? The Importance of Building Cultures of Inclusion in STEM Fields to Retain Underrepresented Minorities

Thursday, September 29, 2022
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Location: BME 3.204

Speaker: Tiffany N. Hughes, M.Ed.
Graduate Student
Educational Leadership and Policy
The University of Texas at Austin


Educators, policymakers, and advocates continue to seek new ways to address the lack of diversity in STEM fields. The primary emphasis is on finding innovative ways to recruit more underrepresented minorities (URM) to participate in STEM programs. However, when so much focus is placed solely on recruitment as a way to add diversity, less intention is directed towards ensuring that these programs and workspaces are inclusive environments.  This in turn can lead to a loss of URM participants as they leave or feel “pushed out” of STEM. This talk will draw upon my research that investigates how race influences the experiences of Black medical students in predominantly white training environments, in addition to my practical experiences serving as an advisor to undergraduates and medical students of color. We will explore the realities of how URM students feel both tokenized and invisible while pursuing careers in STEM. And, we will discuss the benefits of inclusion for retaining these individuals in STEM fields. Students, faculty, and staff will leave this discussion with a broader understanding of what inclusivity means, and new considerations on the role that they play in retaining diversity in their field.