A Call to Action: Lessons Learned from a Book Club about Supporting and Mentoring Underrepresented STEM Students
Keywords:STEM, Historically Underrepresented Populations, Book Club Interventions, STEM Education
The participation rates of historically underserved students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) remains an important concern, as inequitable access in the form of treatment and opportunities within the education system is a constant struggle. To unpack this issue, a book club was organized as an intervention at a university in the southeastern part of the United States. Findings from the book club intervention suggest that university faculty should (a) understand the importance of continuous early exposure to STEM, (b) nurture underrepresented students’ STEM identities, (c) form collaborations and partnerships with STEM professionals from underrepresented groups, and (d) commit to mentoring STEM underrepresented students. In this article, we argue that these objectives can be accomplished through the exposure to STEM professionals from underrepresented groups and the integration of STEM research in undergraduate coursework. Finally, we share the lessons we learned with respect to how the book served as our call to action in our professorial duties.