New online network emphasizes diversity, supports STEM

UW-Madison has launched a new online resource for students, faculty and staff in STEM fields.

The STEM Diversity Network was created by associate professor of genetics Ahna Skop and UW-Madison interns Olushola Kemi Olukoga of Cottage Grove, Minn., and Kaitlin Morse of Mount Horeb.

“The goal is to create a campus community around STEM and compile campus resources available to underrepresented students, faculty and staff in a one-stop shop place,” Skop said.

The network was created to promote “recruitment, retention and success” of university members in STEM. It features a list of mentors who can provide professional development assistance to students, but also to faculty and advisors looking to help others connect.

“In making this site I realized that having a more diverse student body, faculty and staff here at UW–Madison is not only important for the advancement of underrepresented people in STEM, but also for STEM fields as a whole,” says Morse. “When you invite more diversity you’re also inviting new ideas and new perspectives.”

Support for the website comes from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in collaboration with the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, as well as the UW-Madison Office of the Provost. Part of that funding went toward paying Olukoga and Morse for their work, which involved writing STEM-related articles and suggestions for how to find opportunities like research programs.

The STEM Diversity Network will serve as a source for STEM-related news, as well as diversity resources spread across campus. The site will host diverse articles written by university members with diverse backgrounds, on subjects like women in mathematics or supporting students of color.

It will also have a calendar of STEM- and diversity-related events.

“I felt like it was part of my job on this campus that when I leave, the students who come after me have these resources, and they are not overlooked because they are underrepresented,” said Olukoga, a native of Nigeria and lab assistant in Skop Lab.

See the site here:

–By Alex Moe