How to Connect with Diverse Students

Picture of meeting participants with the words INVOLVE, ENCOURAGE, ENGAGE overlaid

All Hands Meeting 2019


Sara Pichette July 24, 2019

New Mexico EPSCoR is committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion. We strive to establish an environment that exemplifies and promotes diversity of all types (individual, institutional, geographic, and disciplinary).
At May’s annual All Hands Meeting for the NM SMART Grid Center, we charged our team members to come up with ideas of what they could do personally to engage a wide diversity of students at their institutions. The themes of “Involve. Encourage. Engage” emerged from over 100 contributions. So how can you encourage your students to engage from day 1 in your class?

Involve- Highlight real-world, interdisciplinary research happening in New Mexico

One of the perks of being a NM SMART Grid Center participant or past EPSCoR participant is the access to our interdisciplinary network of team members. Invite someone from another research group or a different institution to talk about their current work that tackles problems in New Mexico, any opportunities they have available, and how they got into STEM.
Encourage--Share your story

Education is a journey riddled with detours, disappointments and delays, yours included! Take a few minutes during the first week of class to share how you became a faculty member or graduate student. Showcase your personal story, failures and how you overcame them. This can be done via PowerPoint slide with a timeline or a 5-minute presentation on how you got into your field. Pictures are encouraged!
A few questions to help craft your presentation:
How did you choose your field?
What type of undergraduate research were you a part of?
Where did you attend school?
Any odd jobs you held while completing your degrees?
What types of failures did you encounter and how did you work through them?
Tell about your mentor and how they impacted your studies.
Engage—Make graduate education a priority

Interject and mention graduate education in classroom discussions and within student feedback on projects and assignments. Feedback such as, “This is great work, have you thought about graduate school?” or “Great work, have you thought about applying for a research lab position?” encourages conversations about graduate school and other opportunities.
Check back next month for more tips on how to involve, encourage and engage your students.