Award honors institutions that encourage students from underrepresented groups to enter STEM fields

Lehigh received the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for its Greer Scholars, RARE and Women in Engineering PreLUsion programs. The award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“This award is a tribute to all of the Lehigh University faculty and staff who are on the front lines delivering programs that place student access and success as the central focus of their work,” said Donald A. Outing, vice president for equity and community at Lehigh. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our efforts to make all of Lehigh available to all who attend.”

The Greer Scholars Program, launched in 2013, provides funding and a support network for Black and Hispanic students pursuing engineering studies at Lehigh. Through the program, initiated through the philanthropic efforts of Dr. Carl ’62 and Pat Greer, close to 90% of the nearly 60 Greer Scholars have remained in engineering.

The Rapidly Accelerated Research Experience (RARE) program is a focused pre-admission-to-graduation STEM immersion program that provides opportunities to students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM fields to equip them with scientific and leadership skills. The program incorporates an innovative curriculum across STEM fields, a strong sense of identity as part of a community of scholars, addressing cultural issues that can contribute to low success and retention rates, and an understanding of the commitment required to excel in STEM.

Lehigh Women Engineers PreLUsion is a three-day program for first-year students that takes place just before students begin classes in the fall. Participants learn about opportunities for Lehigh engineers; meet peers, faculty and staff who will help in the transition to college; gain hands-on lab experience; learn about campus resources, clubs and social activities; visit departments and research centers; and are introduced to college-level academics.

“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication and mentorship for underrepresented students,” said Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in or are interested in a future career in STEM. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”

The award was announced Aug. 15, 2020. Lehigh will be featured, along with other recipients, in the September 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education and is known for its annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. Lehigh received the HEED Award in 2019.

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center

Story by Amy White

Student working in lab

RARE student Sareena Karim '22, forefront, works in the Chow Lab led by Lesley Chow, Frank Hook Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Ropes course

Lehigh Women Engineers PreLUsion participants engage in Lehigh's ropes course.

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