Belonging: A Documentary Short and Facilitated Conversation on the Academic, Emotional, Social, Political, and Cultural, Hurdles to STEM Fields for People of Color

Catalina Martinez, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Narragansett, RI, United States and Kendall Moore, University of Rhode Island, Journalism and Film Media, Narragansett, United States
The documentary “Belonging” captures the unique socio-emotional experiences of students, faculty, and STEM professionals of color who are pursuing, in, and/or have left, STEM fields. Through a viewing and facilitated discussion of the film, this session will challenge attendees to reflect on their own journey through STEM, and to think about whether and how ‘belonging’ played a significant role.

As a result of this workshop, participants will:

  • Gain clarity about inherent inequities and challenges for people of color in accessing STEM fields and the need to change them through actions;
  • Achieve understanding of the social concept of belonging and its importance for retention and effective support of students of color in the STEM fields;
  • Engage in discussion to reflect on experiences to unpack feelings of non-belonging, traumatic race-based conflicts, and challenges that stem from inequity in the US;
  • Understand the need for greater representation of people of color in faculty, and other STEM positions of power/influence;
  • Discuss strategies to address the socio-economic challenges that contribute to a lack of belonging, barriers to entry, and other systemic issues that hinder the retention of people of color in STEM academic programs and the workforce.

This workshop will utilize strategies that appeal to a broad range of learning styles. A facilitated group discussion will help participants with awareness of inequity, and the sharing of real-world solutions to identify barriers and challenges in their experiences, and how to address them in healthy, constructive ways that minimize socio-emotional degradation. To view a trailer to the film, see this Website