Two Center for STEM Diversity programs earn recognition

BEST and STEM Ambassadors were both named Inspiring Programs in STEM by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
Four photos put into one collage. Groups of students smiling together with staff.
Tufts students participating in the BEST and STEM Ambassadors programs, with program staff.

Two Tufts programs, Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) and STEM Ambassadors, were recently recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as Inspiring Programs in STEM. The award honors college and university-level programs that support students from groups underrepresented in STEM. “We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond,” said Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Both the BEST and STEM Ambassadors programs are run through the Tufts Center for STEM Diversity (CSD), which provides students with the tools and resources they need to thrive academically. The CSD also engages with faculty and staff to support them as they work with a diverse population of science and engineering students.

BEST operates through the CSD in conjunction with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the School of Engineering, led by program manager and CSD Associate Director Sehba Hasan. The program aims to provide a comprehensive, thriving environment for students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields. BEST takes a holistic approach to supporting students’ personal and academic growth over the course of their college career. Participants begin with a six-week summer program during which they take two academic courses for credit and settle into college life. BEST continues to support students throughout all four years of their college career with academic support and social opportunities such as Sunday dinners.

The STEM Ambassadors program has a dual focus on professional development and STEM outreach, overseen by program administrator Sophia Hamdan. Student representatives from Tufts University deliver interactive STEM programming to local schools in Medford, Somerville, and Boston. In addition to encouraging K-12 students’ interest in STEM fields, the ambassadors undertake a series of leadership and communications workshops for their own professional development. The program supports a mutually beneficial relationship between ambassadors who gain experience in a leadership role, and K-12 students who gain a broadened perspective of the possibilities within STEM fields. Ambassadors also network with others who are doing similar work at the Engineering Ambassadors Network Northeast Regional Workshop.

“I am incredibly honored to have two programs from the Center for STEM Diversity have been recognized as Inspiring Programs in STEM by Diversity in Action,” says CSD Director Grace Caldara. “Sehba and Sophia have done an amazing job working to enhance and innovate these programs into impactful and memorable experiences for students. This is a well-deserved recognition for BEST and STEM Ambassadors and the incredible work that Sehba and Sophia do at Tufts University.”       

INISIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest magazine focused on diversity in higher education. Inspiring Programs in STEM award winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.

Learn more about BEST.

Learn more about STEM Ambassadors.