I think it is important to retain and advance underrepresented minority students (URMs) and women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Mentoring plays a role in this given that mentors help mentees access information and navigate the unspoken rules of academia.
I have extensive experience in developing and implementing initiatives and programs to promote and mentor underrepresented students. With National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, I founded the League of Underrepresented Minoritized Astronomers (LUMA) in 2015. This is a nation-wide peer mentoring program for URM women graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, research scientists, and faculty in Astronomy. I am currently LUMA’s director. I also led Harvard University’s Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (WISTEM) Mentor Program (2009-2012) while I was a postdoctoral fellow. This program matched women undergraduate students with graduate student mentors. I served as the coordinator of the NSF–Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Mentoring Program at the University of Michigan (2008-2009) and the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School’s mentoring program (2006-2008) which were peer mentoring programs for URM graduate students in STEM at the University of Michigan.
I also often speak on mentoring-related topics, including the following: Harvard L.E.A.D conference (targeting Latina undergraduates), Scientista Symposium (targeting undergraduate women in STEM), Vanderbilt-Fisk Bridge Program (targeting URM graduate students in STEM), the Harvard Banneker Institute (targeting URM undergraduates in Astronomy), Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM (targeting underrepresented minority women in STEM), the Center for Astrophysics Latino Initiative (targeting URM STEM students and their advisors).