Fuse and Collaborators Awarded ACS Grant for STEM Mentoring Program

May 07, 2021

By Stephanie Rizzo ’09

The program aims to empower students at participating schools in the pursuit of science degrees and through shared successes.

Marisa FuseMarisa Fuse

Director of Health Professions Advising Marisa Fuse and her collaborators at Hendrix College and Furman University have been awarded a $25,884 grant from the Associated Colleges of the South to develop a new STEM mentoring program, which will allow students and faculty at each institution to form a core coalition empowering diversity in the scientific disciplines through shared successes. The project, which is based on the Increasing Retention and Inclusion in STEM (IRIS) peer mentoring program successfully implemented at Hendrix, recognizes that women, first-generation college students, socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals, individuals of color, and LGBTQ+ students are often underrepresented and can face additional challenges when pursuing opportunities in STEM fields.

This summer, the grant team will develop a framework and planning tools for faculty participants at each institution, aimed at supporting underrepresented students and creating inclusive communities within the scientific disciplines on each campus. Programming for students will include weekly mentoring and workshop sessions that address specific topics, including approaches for academic success, attainment of research and internship opportunities, scientific communication, perseverance, stereotype threat, and empowerment through the examination of identity contingencies.

As the project leader for Rollins, Fuse will use the new mentoring program to help build a sense of community and belonging among our pre-health professions students, whom she believes will benefit greatly from a dedicated support system and a better understanding of the challenges of a pre-health track shared through the experiences of others who have successfully navigated the curriculum.

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