Three programs in the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI) at UAMS have been named recipients of the 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award. The award is given by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, and it honors colleges and universities that help students from underrepresented groups enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Virtual Junior STEM Academy, Virtual Senior STEM Academy and the UAMS DDEI Laddered Pipeline Program will be featured in the magazine’s September 2021 issue. INSIGHT Into Diversity is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The award honors colleges and universities that help students from underrepresented groups enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“These awards highlight the value our programs bring to the diversification of our health care workforce,” said Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., the executive director of the division. “In order to reach health equity, we need to diversify our workforce. To be successful, we cannot focus only on college-level students. We must engage our students early on,” she added.
During the five-week summer STEM academies, elementary and middle school students learn about various topics in STEM fields, and are exposed to different careers in health care. The UAMS DDEI Laddered Pipeline Program encompasses all six of DDEI’s summer outreach programs. In addition to Junior and Senior STEM Academy, the pipeline program includes the Virtual Academy of Pre-Health Scholars, Student-Athlete STEM Academy, Pre-Health Scholars Program, and Pre-Medical Summer Scholars II. Each academy within the pipeline is a feeder to the next program, intentionally designed to take students from kindergarten through their senior year of college.
“Frequently students have the aptitude and interest, but they lose their steam because they aren’t encouraged during the journey. In fact, they are often dissuaded. Many of our students of color acknowledge experiencing blatant discouragement, so our laddered pipeline programs fill those gaps in our leaky pipelines supporting students from kindergarten to college,” said Richard-Davis.
The Laddered Pipeline Program provides a variety of resources for high school and college students, including ACT prep, MCAT prep, clinical simulations, preceptors, advanced science courses and developing personal statements for college and medical school applications. The students are also exposed to nearly every health care profession at UAMS, with the opportunity to network with faculty and students from all five UAMS colleges.
To enroll in DDEI summer outreach programs, students must submit an application and be accepted into the program. Applications open in February each year.