Shaping Inclusive Communities Through Being Human in STEM (SSD Keynote Speaker) INT 100/201 APPROVED!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students

Student Scholars Day flyer in dark blue and turquoise

Catalyzed by a 4-day student protest highlighting the impact of systemic racism on student experience, the “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM) course ( started as a student-faculty collaboration to investigate the academic literature and lived experiences of marginalized students in STEM at Amherst College and beyond. Offered since Spring 2016, the course is an engine for student-led inquiry and action that has reshaped the STEM culture at Amherst, and has been adopted by over a dozen institutions. Join protein folding researchers Prof. Sheila Jaswal & Sam Young (Amherst ‘23) as they share their experiences with the HSTEM course from the faculty and student perspective and discuss HSTEM’s impact on their individual STEM journeys and the broader Amherst STEM community.

  • Sheila Jaswal is an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department and Program in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Amherst College. With a team of undergraduate researchers, she studies the interplay between protein stability, dynamics and function using a combined biophysical and computational approach. In response to a campus-wide protest in 2015 calling for a more welcoming and inclusive environment, she collaborated with students to develop the “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM) course model. Now in its 10th iteration, HSTEM students investigate both the local student experience and the academic literature on diversity in STEM, then design tools and interventions to enhance their own STEM community In collaboration with HSTEM student, staff, and faculty colleagues, she facilitates the HSTEM course at Amherst , organizes campus and regional HSTEM events, gives talks and workshops at colleges, universities and conferences nationwide, collaborates with affiliates at the dozen institutions that now offer the HSTEM course, and shares curricular and other resources resulting from HSTEM course projects at
  • Sam Young is a junior majoring in Biochemistry & Biophysics at Amherst College. As de facto lab manager of the Jaswal lab since June 2021, they keep everyone safe and organized. Since September, Sam has been the president of Amherst’s oSTEM chapter, organizing events that create community for LGBTQ+ students in STEM. Taking the Being Human in STEM (HSTEM) class during January 2021 had a fundamental impact on Sam’s approach to navigating STEM. Feeling their newfound perspectives were important enough to share with other STEM students, Sam stepped into the role of peer facilitator alongside three other student alums for the 2022 HSTEM January course. Now, they look forward to sharing their HSTEM insights with others beyond  Amherst College to help everyone envision and work toward a more inclusive STEM future.

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Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship
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This event was added to the calendar by Courtney Sherwood ( on Friday, February 25, 2022 and was last updated on Friday, April 8, 2022 at 9:03 a.m.