GAINING STEM CAPITAL: The Pre-Conference hosted by Future Black Female and IDEASS Lab from Ontario Tech University
Gaining STEM Capital : A round table highlighting the BIPOC student’s experience in a university STEM program
Future Black Female (FBF) and IDEASS Lab from Ontario Tech University (OTU) are collaborating on a knowledge synthesis of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) university programs.
Gaining STEM Capital is a “round table” discussion os STEM students at a virtual pre-conference that is the culmination of months of uncovering the systemic factors that impact the success of BIPOC women who are underrepresented, under-resourced, and at risk for dropping out or transferring to non-STEM programs. The goal is to foster learning, inspiration and wonder; and to provoke conversations that advance the successes and representation of BIPOC women students in STEM.
The discussion will be around the following topics:
The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
– Counterspace and Community
A counterspace is any space that is considered socially and academically safe and inclusive for marginalized students. It is a space that privileges underrepresented students by providing a sense of belonging and support while validating diverse experiences and counteracting discrimination. In STEM counterspace is important because it helps students to develop their STEM identity, which is usually harder to develop while facing racism, sexism, and oppressive academic cultures.
– Empowerment through Research
Providing opportunities for both undergraduates and graduate students to share their findings through research with the public is a powerful way to encourage and engage students in the STEM community. The academic research opportunities available to BIPOC women students directly contribute to their assimilation into STEM culture and their future in the STEM fields. STEM capital is not only the awareness of research opportunities, the importance of gaining research skills or even how to obtain a research experience. It is also the availability and openness of STEM research to marginalized students.
– STEM identity
Both the self-perceived and the social identity of a student in the STEM community impact their ability to learn, grow, and succeed. “Science identity” is the process of students recognizing who they are, what they believe they are capable of, what careers they are interested in, and how they interact with the scientific community. In fact, research shows that the development of science identity is strongly correlated to student persistence in STEM.