Research Mentoring to Advance Inclusivity in STEM (RMAIS) is a project of the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology (GDPE) and was funded by The Women & Gender Collaborative at Colorado State University (CSU). This initiative is designed to provide enhanced experiences and improve gender inclusivity for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty engaged in STEM research at CSU. While our focus was on gender and STEM, much of this work also incorporates identity and intersectional identity more broadly.
In 2018 and 2019, GDPE funded small research grants to triads consisting of an undergraduate student, a graduate student RMAIS fellow, and a faculty member. Graduate student fellows developed modules on mentorship at the gender/STEM intersection with feedback from a faculty review panel with experience in mentorship and inclusivity. The modules were implemented and refined through the experiences of the research triads and a summer research seminar for undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to the module development and implementation, RMAIS supported:
While women comprise approximately 50% of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) undergraduates, they comprise only about 35% of STEM postdoctoral researchers, thus constraining the percentage of women in advanced career and leadership positions in STEM. Research suggests that early mentorship can improve retention of women in STEM. Moreover, the struggles experienced due to gender inequality are shared by other minoritized groups. Thus, the goal of RMAIS is to develop a mentorship framework and associated materials for students engaged in STEM research at CSU.