Skip to main content

Science Mentorship: Building Inclusivity in STEM

Mentorship is a collaborative learning relationship that supports mentees at all stages of their career. In order to proactively build a more inclusive STEM field, the mentorship model must move beyond the dyad mentor-mentee relationship.  A productive reframing of one-to-one mentorship to a “village of mentors” mentality can more comprehensively support mentees as they explore their various identities and foster a strong sense of self in STEM. This expansion of mentorship is especially important to support those who are underrepresented within the larger science community.

Join the Academy and Hudson River Park as we hear from a panel of diverse STEM experts who will talk about their professional evolution and the role that mentorship played in getting them to where they are today. The panelists will share some of the many opportunities available for students interested in exploring a STEM career, and the importance of mentors and role models in creating a STEM ecosystem where diverse identities thrive.

This panel discussion is designed to cater to high school and college students interested in STEM careers, as well as graduate students and postdocs. Audience members are encouraged to engage with the panelists by asking questions during the Q&A segment.

During this webinar, you’ll hear from a panel of Scientists on the following topics:

  • The importance of mentorship in cultivating a diverse      and inclusive STEM workforce
  • How to get the most out of a mentoring relationship
  • What opportunities to look for to be successful in      STEM

Hudson River Park’s River Project

Hudson River Park’s River Project conducts research and offers hands-on environmental education and scientific programming with the purpose of communicating the ecological importance of the Park’s 400-acre Estuarine Sanctuary. Additionally, the River Project’s student internship programs provide field science experience, mentorship and networking opportunities within NYC’s environmental field.

Trust in Science: How should Scientists build Credibility and Engage with Society?

Seventy-three percent of adults in the US agree that science and technology improve our lives, and the majority trust that scientists and researchers play an important role to help solve problems. The scientific ecosystem is built to not just develop solutions to scientific problems and build careers, but also engage communities and communicate scientific development and its impact on the public and society.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid was originally scheduled to take place twice: on November 2 and November 16. However, this event will now ONLY occur on November 16.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an interactive training program designed to help individuals identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health issues and substance use disorders in adults. Similar to First Aid and CPR training, MHFA is a key set of skills that can allow scientists and educators to assist their students, peers and colleagues who may be experiencing an acute mental health issue.

Scientists and educators are encouraged to take this course to help address the growing mental health crisis in adults. Similar to First Aid and CPR, the training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognized program that originated in Australia and is currently taught in more than 25 countries world wide. The program follows evidence-based fidelity standards.

Please note that this course involves two hours of self-paced online learning prior to the event.

Impacting Policy, Increasing Influence: Training in Effective Communications with Policymakers

Live Course and Interactive Community: “Breaking Through is Hard to Do: Getting Your Voice Heard by Policymakers to Advance Your Research”

This course and community is custom-built for scientists to help you:

  • Advance your career
  • Get funding for your research
  • Build support for, and understanding of, your work by key policymakers
  • Gain a community of mentors and peers while learning from communication experts

The course will teach you a proven, powerful system that has helped course graduates achieve these actual results:

  • Aced job interview, leading to a successful transition from earning a Ph.D. to getting a consulting position in life sciences
  • Successful lay abstract, unlocking 3 years of grant funding
  • Funding for a starter grant from USAID
  • Improved investor pitch for a Chief Scientific Officer at a biotech startup
  • Strong interview preparation, supporting an accepted job offer as a Medical Science Liaison
  • Compliments on describing complex research “instead of the usual glazed looks”

How This Teacher Used STEM to Spark Interest in Social Studies

A woman poses for the camera with NYC's Brooklyn Bridge in the background.

By Roger Torda

Servena Narine outside her classroom at PS 307 in Brooklyn

Servena Narine, who teaches at a New York City public school in Brooklyn, uses science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to help her elementary school students master their social studies curriculum.

This summer, Narine used time made available because of the COVID-19 shutdown to take The New York Academy of Sciences’ online course STEM Education in the 21st Century. During the eight-week course, she designed a curriculum for fourth-grade students. One of the units called for students to use data analytics in creating an infographic to “tell a story about the effects of immigration on New York City’s industrial growth in the 1900s.”

The Seven Essential STEM Skills

“It was a course where we incorporated seven essential STEM skills into our teaching,” Narine said in a recent phone interview. “I think sometimes as teachers we do that naturally, but through the course I was able to more deeply integrate the STEM skills into my lesson plans.”

Narine was referring to seven skills Identified by the Academy’s STEM Education Framework. critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, collaboration, data literacy, and digital literacy and computer science. These skills form the foundation of the course.

“The Academy developed its Framework back in 2016 as a research-based tool that can be used to ensure students receive high-quality STEM learning,” said Chris Link, the Academy’s Director of Education. “Our online course coaches teachers on strategies they can use to help their students build critical 21st-century skills.”

“Eight years ago, my school became a magnet school for STEM studies,” Narine explained, referring to PS 307, which serves pre-K through fifth grade in the Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. “I’m always looking to learn more about what it means to be a STEM school, and what it means to integrate the principles of STEM into the classroom. When I saw that this course was available, and that it was free, and that I had time on my hands because everyone was self-isolating because of COVID-19, I jumped right into it.”

Continuing Teacher and Leader Education

Narine was one of 100 New York City teachers enrolled in the course through the sponsorship of Medidata, which has supported several Academy STEM programs. Narine and other teachers who completed the course received 30 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credits required by New York State to maintain certification.

“I loved that the course was asynchronous, so I could set a schedule for myself,” Narine said. “The participants, the other teachers, all reviewed each others’ work, and offered feedback. That was a great benefit. And I loved that for each of the seven skills there was an expert in the field who was able to share information.

Narine’s course not only incorporated STEM skills, but aligned closely with the state’s Passport to Social Studies curriculum. To develop critical thinking skills, one of her units calls on students to analyze documents from the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. A unit on problem solving asks students to develop solutions to clashes between Native Americans and colonists.

Cross-Interdisciplinary Skills for Students

A unit on the geography of New York calls for creativity in designing maps to promote tourist destinations. Yet another unit is designed to promote collaboration skills as teams make a game to test knowledge of material covered in earlier units. These cross-disciplinary skills serve students in their social studies classes, their STEM classes, and beyond.

“The curriculum asks students to look at Native Americans as the first inhabitants of New York State,” Narine said, explaining how she started thinking about a unit that would focus on communication skills, another area of focus in the Academy’s online course.

“I remember thinking that we’d be learning about Native Americans in the region around the time we’d be celebrating Thanksgiving,” she continued. “And I thought it would be nice to have the children create a public service announcement to give thanks to Native Americans for the contributions they have made to New York State and to our society, rather than the other way around, where we pretty much look at the European influence and teach that it is because of the Europeans that we have Thanksgiving. I said, ‘Let’s turn it around and say thank you to the first inhabitants of New York for their contributions.’”