FAMU To Host Florida Women of Color STEM Scholars for Research Boot Camp

July 08, 2022
STEM Mentors
FAMU To Host Florida Women of Color STEM Scholars for Research Boot Camp

Mentors (from left) Sabrina Dickey, Ph.D., Lidia Kos, Ph.D., Ruthmae Sears, Ph.D., and Marcia Owens, Ph.D.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) will host a research boot camp for 15 women of color science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scholars from across the state.

FAMU serves as the lead institution for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF), Florida Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP). The Florida AGEP Pathways Alliance (FLAGEP) proposes to advance a partnership among four universities with the goal of developing, implementing, and studying a model focused on increasing the number of minority women faculty in STEM. The Florida AGEP Alliance will host the 15 women of color in STEM fields at the annual Research Boot Camp through July 15.

Led by Allyson Watson, Ph.D., dean of the FAMU College of Education, the Alliance consists of three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including FAMU, Bethune Cookman University and Florida Memorial University; one Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)- Florida International University; and two Historically White Institutions (HWI) – University of South Florida and Virginia Tech.

During the weeklong session, which begins Sunday, July 10, accomplished women scholars in the STEM areas are selected to mentor others. During the intensive session, senior scholar mentors will provide tangible outcome-based targets for the participants to achieve at the end of the week. This NSF-funded program aligns with the project goal to increase the number of women of color in the STEM professoriate.

Tamara Bertrand JonesTamara Bertrand Jones, Ph.D., a developer of Sisters of The Academy (SOTA) serves as a consultant for the bootcamp. 

The participants range from dissertators, early-career faculty, and post-doctoral fellows from across Florida. They will be mentored and taught strategies and key points to navigate successfully to and through the professoriate.

“It is imperative that institutions like those in the Florida AGEP Alliance continue to provide opportunities for mentoring of women of color in STEM. We know that there are disparities among women faculty and women of color faculty in STEM areas. This Research Boot Camp surrounds these promising scholars with nationally recognized scholars who are lifting as they climb,” Watson said. “The participants will not only get to share their experiences with mentors who have walked the walk, they will also gain purposeful and meaningful lessons on publishing in top-tier journals, grant writing in national foundations, achieving tenure at top universities, and accomplishing success in higher education and the professoriate.”

College of Education Associate Professor Alishea Rowley, Ph.D., serves as the project coordinator and has been communicating with the participants and anticipates a transformational week. 

“We look forward to hosting this dynamic group of women who are dissertators and emerging leaders,” Rowley said. “The support they will receive is invaluable.”

Sisters of the Academy (SOTA) developer Tamara Bertrand Jones, Ph.D., an associate professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership at Florida State University, serves as a host consultant for the Research Boot Camp.

Watson said the FL AGEP Alliance has a strong mentoring model developed by Sylvia Thomas, Ph.D., to incorporate lessons and strategies for women of color as they navigate in higher education. SOTA provides the framework for the intensive model to be actualized and the women leave feeling accomplished and moving toward their future. 

“We have multiple success stories of women who have been through our programs and into the profession with the mentorship and assistance of senior scholars in our project,” Watson said. 

“We want to add value to the state of Florida and the nation by increasing the number of women of color in the STEM professoriate so that in turn, we can recruit and retain more women who represent diverse backgrounds in STEM areas. It is a transformational cycle that we are happy to be a part of.”