Multicultural mentoring strategies to broaden participation of underrepresented geoscience students

Monday 2:00pm TSU - Humphries: 203


Leticia Williams, Howard University
A common thread among top programs that serve underrepresented STEM students is mentoring support (National Science and Technology Council, 2013). Despite the wide implementation of mentoring programs in STEM, there is limited research about mentoring underrepresented STEM students. Research has consistently shown that mentoring is vital to the academic and career success of underrepresented STEM students (Adams, 1992; Griffin et al., 2010; Kendricks et al., 2013). However, these studies have failed to identify the explicit mentoring functions (e.g., research and career advice, emotional support), relational interactions between a mentor and protégé, and mentoring framework that engender beneficial academic and career outcomes. Multicultural mentoring offers an integral framewok to aid in the broadening of participation of underrepresented minorities in geoscience.

Multicultural mentoring is based on the premise that traditional mentoring models do not address the needs of protégés with diverse backgrounds, and that students' multiple, instersectional identities must be considered during the mentoring process. (Benishek, Bieschke, Park, & Slattery, 2004; Schlosser & Foley, 2008). Furthermore, mentoring is an interpersonal relationship that entails communication and engaging in behaviors that promote the development of protégés (Scielzo, Patel, & Smith-Jentsch, 2011). Although communication is paramount in the mentoring process, there is limited research about the role of communication in the mentoring process (Wang, 2012).

This presentation will delineate effective strategies for multicultural mentoring, explore the connection between STEM mentors' communication and effective multicultural mentoring, and explicate the importance of communication and diversity in the mentoring process for underrepresented geoscience students. The purpose of this presentation is to facilitate enhanced multicultural mentoring practices for minority geoscience students through effective communication among STEM faculty, and ultimately among STEM professionals more broadly.