9.2 A Multicultural Mentoring Model: Best Practices for Mentoring Underrepresented Atmospheric Science Students

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 3:15 PM
North 229AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Leticia D. Williams, NCAS, Washington, D.C.

Mentoring has become a leading intervention strategy to increase diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for underrepresented students including women, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans. However, there is limited research about the specific mentoring practices that are effective for underrepresented atmospheric science students, and more broadly, STEM students. Multicultural mentoring provides a system to effectively mentor underrepresented atmospheric science students. Multicultural mentoring is based on the premise that traditional mentoring models do not address the needs of students with diverse backgrounds. Multicultural mentoring posits that students have multiple identities, and that these intersectional identities must be considered during mentorships. Although multicultural mentoring has been examined in education scholarship, there is a need to further research and apply multicultural mentoring in STEM.

In order to study the best practices of multicultural mentoring for underrepresented atmospheric science students, STEM faculty (including atmospheric science faculty) were interviewed to provide insight about their multicultural mentoring, communication, and relationship with their underrepresented students. Based on this study, the Multicultural Mentoring Communication Praxis (MMCP) was developed to provide a mentoring model that is applicable for underrepresented atmospheric science students. The MMCP reveals how STEM mentors can utilize the best practices of open communication, supportive communication, and consistent communication to engage in effective multicultural mentoring with their students. These practices facilitate multicultural mentoring that recognize specific challenges for underrepresented students, such as discrimination or first generation students navigating higher education. The MMCP also delineates how the mentoring process is influenced by nuances of race, gender, and culture that can guide a STEM mentor’s ability to not only understand the needs and experiences of their student, but also how they can provide support. This presentation will highlight the best practices of the MMCP, and provide strategies to implement multicultural mentoring for underrepresented atmospheric science students.

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