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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What do you mean when you say "underrepresented in STEM"?

STEM is an abbreviation for the broad fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In round numbers, there are about 24M full-time degreed engineers and scientists in the United States. About 5.6% self-identify as Black or African American (who are 13% of the U.S. population). About 7.5% self-identify as Latinx (who are 17.6% of the U.S. population). About 0.2% self-identify as Indigenous Peoples (who are 2% of the U.S. population). The percent who self-identify as LGBTQ+ is not known (they are 4.5% of the U.S. population). About 6% self-identify as People with Disabilities, including those who are Deaf (People with Disabilities are 20% of the U.S. population). About 25% self-identify as women (who are about 49-50% of the U.S. population). People from these (and some other) backgrounds and communities are statistically underrepresented in STEM because the percentage in STEM is less than the percentage in the U.S. population. They are also culturally underrepresented in STEM, because their voices are significantly outnumbered and often not heard or not respected. Sources: https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf19304/digest https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsb20198/demographic-trends-of-the-s-e-workforce Brittany Kos. 2019. Dissertation: An Autoethnography of T9Hacks: Designing a Welcoming Hackathon for Women and Non-Binary Students to Learn and Explore Computing Donna Auguste. 2019. Dissertation: A Data Science Approach to STEM Identity Research for African American Communities.

What is The Hab's mission?

The mission of The Hab community space is to provide a vibrant intergenerational community for underrepresented STEM graduate students, along with their mentors, coaches, and allies; help our grad students successfully GRADUATE 🎓 with advanced STEM degrees; and continuously learn from our evolving research to make the journey better for the next wave of grad students.

What is a "community of practice"?

A community of practice, as defined by the original research that led to this phrase, is a group of people who share a common domain of interest, have varying skills and expertise within that domain, and who teach and learn from each other. Sources: https://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/ https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html

Why is it called The "Hab"?

"Hab" is short for "habitat", like the living space for astronauts on the moon or Mars. One aspect of the Mars habitat that caught my attention in "The Martian" book/movie is that, for the astronaut, it was a refuge from the environment which was simultaneously captivating and harsh. This community space can be your refuge if you need it to be.

Why does that graduation hat look different than the mortarboard-style from my previous graduations?

At some universities, a tam-style graduation hat replaces the mortarboard-style graduation hat when graduates are receiving a PhD, JD, MD, EdD or other terminal degree. We include it in The Hab logo and throughout our community space because, for some of our graduate students, it reminds of of this milestone we're working to achieve. Plus, it just rocks 😎!

Exactly how does The Hab support STEM grad students?

We support grad students with community and resources. Our community offers warmth, conversation, patient colleagues, shared experiences, tips for learning STEM-things or solving STEM-problems. Our resources are in response to community needs. For example: - Are you overwhelmed with how to collect, organize, cleanse and analyze large research datasets? We have folks who do that all the time and will help you learn how. - Are you stuck on a tough Python coding issue? We have Python experts. - Are you wading through 100 hours of audio recordings from research interviews? We have access to an excellent transcription service, and coaches for qual and quant methods. - Writer's block? We've been there and we can help move the writing tasks along. Tell us what you need the most. We'll help you, and that informs our research to support the next wave of grad students.