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“If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world…we’ve got to open doors for everyone…We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.-Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States 


Living and Learning in an Interdisciplinary Networked Community of STEM Scholars

In Fall 2015, a Living and Learning Community (L2C) for Biomedical Scholars, was launched at Spelman College. More recently, the name of the program has been changed to LINCS (Living and Learning in an Interdisciplinary Networked Community of STEM Scholars), which better describes the ‘community’ in a larger context. The motivation to start this program was the fact that underrepresented minorities in general, and African American women in particular, may be academically well prepared to succeed in STEM fields and engaged in research experiences that develop their identities as researchers, but still leave these fields because of a sense of isolation and lack of support. The aim of the program is to create cohorts of STEM scholars, with strong and lasting bonds, who would move together up the academic and career ladder. This would be accomplished through the establishment of a Living and Learning Community of scholars with signature programmatic activities that

1) provide mentoring and development sessions;
2) enable the scholars to leverage peer-peer and peer-outside networks;
3) help the scholars understand and navigate higher education as a Black woman in Science.

Dr. Jackson and Dr. Mentewab Ayalew serve as co-director of the LINCS, an initiative whose goal is to improve access to STEM careers for women of color through a

social justice empowerment, while addressing a critical national need by cultivating talent for the STEM workforce.


Quick Points about the LINCS

  • The program is intended to create synergies with other research programs on campus such as RISE, HHMI, Honors Program, HBCU-UP CURE, WiSE UP, LSAMP
    Nomination and selection of students with a declared interest in pursuing PhD degrees (Fall 2017- 2nd Cohort;Fall 2019- 3rd Cohort )
    – 9 residential, 8 affiliates (17-22 students per cohort)
    –Majors: Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Mathematics
    –Sophomores and Juniors
    –Academic Scholarships funded by GSGC/NASA
    – Residential scholars are housed in Laura Spelman (a social justice dorm)

  • Program Activities
    –Career Advancement Planning
    –Papers and Book Readings, Discussion (Sisters in Science, Presumed Incompetent)
    –Campus wide STEM event (Hidden Figures, Food Justice)
    –Monthly meetings with the directors (mentoring moments)
    –Vlog submissions (data collection)
    –Bonding activities(i.g. MIT Quantitative Biology Workshop)

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