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GROW STEM Receives 2019 Inspiring Programs Award

Professors and students in GROW STEM

Left to right, standing: Josephine Reinhardt, assistant professor of biology; physics majors Laura Kowalski '20, Emily Vanderbilt '20, and Sarah Popp '21; Anne Pellerin, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; physics major Jovahn Roumell '22. On the ground: Physics majors Kallah Eddy '21 and Nicole Gindling '21.

SUNY Geneseo is one of 50 institutions to receive the 2019 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups in entering the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

INSIGHT Into Diversity recognized Geneseo for GROW STEM (Geneseo Reaching Out to Women & underrepresented Groups in STEM), which was co-founded in 2016 by Anne Pellerin, assistant professor of physics and astronomy. Co-organizers Josephine Reinhardt, assistant professor of biology, and Melissa Sutherland, associate professor of mathematics, assist Pellerin with the program and organize activities, workshops, and advise students.

Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners were selected based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.

Geneseo’s GROW STEM was designed as an on-campus networking group to raise awareness regarding difficulties that women and under-represented groups can face in STEM fields. The group’s primary function is to educate Geneseo students, faculty, and staff on the challenges facing women and under-represented groups in STEM, including identifying barriers and strategies to find possible solutions.

“GROW STEM plays an important role in raising awareness of diversity and inclusion issues that are impacting women and underrepresented minorities in their careers,” says Pellerin. “We hope the program helps individuals be more sensitive to the problems and work toward possible solutions. Ultimately, it’s our hope that this will guide them toward becoming better colleagues, better bosses, better people, and better citizens."

Since its founding, GROW STEM has hosted various events and networking activities featuring noted speakers from institutions such as MIT, the University of Toledo, the University of Rochester, Stony Brook University, and the State University of New York System. Topics have covered a range of issues including Title IX, gender equity, unconscious bias, the imposter syndrome, work-life balance, and values-based career planning.  The program has also made a significant effort in mentoring STEM students.

GROW STEM is a deeply impactful and strategic home-grown program designed to educate and empower our community and ensure that women and underrepresented minority students are provided with tools to succeed in our STEM fields,” said Provost Stacey Robertson. “It is a wonderful example of our community commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Congratulations to Professor Pellerin and her team of dedicated faculty, staff, and students!”

The program added an officially-recognized student club in Spring 2019 with a starting membership of ten students. The new club was founded solely by GROW STEM students.

SUNY Geneseo will be featured, along with 49 other recipients, in the September 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. For more information about the 2019 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit insightintodiversity.com.

-Anthony Hoppa