The Environments and Metrics in Biology Education and Research (EMBER) RCN-UBE Incubator Project seeks to generate innovative measures to increase retention and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In June 2017 at Harris-Stowe College in St Louis, MO, a workshop is being organized to discuss coordination efforts for a network to initiate and communicate ideas for collaborations. The meeting hopes to attract and capitalize on the unique insights of interested educators from a multitude of relevant disciplines including biology, education, psychology and sociology. The meeting is also looking for junior researchers interested to attend.


The workshop is recruiting researchers in biology, education, psychology, and sociology fields interested in fostering inclusion and diversity in STEM programs. The EMBER network will be holding a three-day conference on the campus of Harris-Stowe State University, an historically black college located in midtown St. Louis, Missouri. Travel stipends are available, and postdocs and graduate students interested in these topics are encouraged to apply. If you would like to apply or register, see info here: to present, you can access the form here; registration for the meeting can be found here (registration is $27.37).



The PI, Jana Marcette, stated that the goals of the workshop were driven by the observation that about half of undergraduate Biology majors switch or leave without completing their declared degree. The formation of this network aims to improve biology student retention and diversity to bolster the STEM workforce. Jana hopes that the meeting will open both dialog and collaboration among social science, biology and education researchers to create metrics for inclusivity in biology classrooms and research spaces.


Addressing diversity, inclusion, equity and access in STEM will require innovative solutions that capitalize on the contributions from a variety of fields including psychology, sociology, education and STEM. The broader impacts of this project lie in forming a network that brings together experts from these fields to study the environment of the current biology STEM enterprise, and attempt to establish and assess benchmarks for inclusivity at critical points along this career network.


The schedule will include:

Round-Table Sessions Led By Key Collaborators

  • Themes for exploring inclusive classrooms and research environments
  • Connecting education, sociology, psychology, and biology research communities, including a discussion of barriers
  • Biology Education Research: interdisciplinary resources and collaborative funding

Start-Up Ideas For Collaborative Research

  • Idea pitch session
  • Voting for top proposal ideas
  • Interdisciplinary working sessions for top proposals (participation does not require long-term commitment to the proposal)

Round-Table Meetings Led By The Organizational Committee

  • Collaboration ideas at the interface of education, sociology, psychology, and biology-based research
  • Development plan for features/outcomes and sustainability of the EMBER network
  • Development plan for sustainability of the EMBER network


The activities of the EMBER Research Coordination Network include organizing and building a collaborating network of experts by hosting a workshop, developing a website, publishing insights generated in the workshop session, and drafting a full Research Coordination Network-Undergraduate Biology Education proposal. The focus of the project will be on retention in biology degree programs but new metrics and paradigms developed by EMBER collaborators are expected to be broadly applicable to other STEM disciplines and to STEM-based businesses.


This work is supported by the National Science Foundation through a grant of $49,997 to Harris-Stowe State College. This project, entitled “RCN-UBE-Incubator: Environments and Metrics in Biology Education and Research,” is under the direction of Jana Marcette, Uwe Hilgert, Richard Harvey and Gary S. McDowell. This award started September 1 , 2016 and ends August 31, 2017.