UMass President’s Office to host virtual summits: “What works” to improve STEM diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education and industry

The University of Massachusetts Office of the President and UMass Amherst Institute of Diversity Sciences, in partnership with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, are hosting a series of virtual summits on June 29-30 where panelists will show which strategies created the greatest improvement in minority and women students’ graduation rates and industry retention and promotion in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. 

The summits come as the nation continues to grapple with racial inequities in society and organizations look to do more within their own operations.

The two summits – one focused on the college experience and one on career trajectories – will explore solutions that demonstrably increase the persistence and retention of under-represented minorities and women in STEM education and industry. Speakers come from the University of Massachusetts, the University of Texas, Harvard University and Mount Holyoke College. Industry presenters from Dell Technologies, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Procter and Gamble’s engineering division, Github and Ginkgo Bioworks will focus on how they improve on minority and female career retention by positioning them for visible and impactful work assignments. Like previous events, these will be hosted virtually on Zoom and will require pre-registration by participants.

“As the Commonwealth’s public research university, the University of Massachusetts has a responsibility to create solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our communities,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “We are proud to sponsor these summits, which will bring together leaders from education, civic, and corporate sectors to learn from each other and advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”

More information on the events can be found at the links below:

UMass System Chancellor of Academic Programs/Senior Vice President of Economic Development Katherine Newman began the NEXT Summits at the height of the pandemic to “get our world back on track” and accelerate the post-pandemic economic recovery in Massachusetts. The six previous NEXT events informed a series of reports that emphasized areas of the economy where UMass has the expertise and opportunity to support industry needs in applied life science, advanced manufacturing, personalized medicine, data science, robotics, AI and applications of defense technologies. 

“As we respond to the need for action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM education and employment, we need to examine those evidence-based reforms that actually move the needle and open gateways of opportunity,” Newman said.

UMass recently announced that its research expenditures had reached an all-time high of $687 million in FY20, again making it the third-largest research university in Massachusetts and the fourth largest in New England.