Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Integrative Sciences Meredith Hughes has been named a 2018 Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), an organization devoted to the advancement of STEM through funding projects in the physical sciences.
“The Cottrell Scholar (CS) program champions the very best early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy by providing these significant discretionary awards,” wrote RCSA President and CEO Daniel Linzer in a newsletter announcing the funding recipients.
Professor Hughes is one of 24 academic scientists to receive the scholarship this year, which awards $100,000 to fund the research of each of the scholars. She will also be invited to attend the Cottrell Scholars annual networking event, which will be held this July in Tucson, Ariz.
Hughes plans to use some of the award money to support the work of her research group on the formation of planets around stars, as well as to fund a course in the College of Integrative Sciences (CIS) next fall.
“It will be a half-credit seminar on Equity and Inclusion in STEM that will include an overview of a lot of the material relevant to understanding the problem of why some groups are underrepresented in STEM (everything from the data on demographics, to social science research on topics like implicit bias and stereotype threat, to information on best practices that have been compiled by different minority groups, and a bit of historical context on social justice movements operating within STEM fields),” Hughes told the Wesleyan Newsletter.
As part of their coursework, students will write and evaluate proposals to improve equity in STEM at the University. The highest rated proposals will then receive some of the Cottrell funding for their implementation. Hughes hopes that her course will help support students involved in a variety of STEM-based initiatives such as Wesleyan Women in Science (WesWIS), Wesleyan Math and Science Scholars (WesMaSS), and the Society for Underrepresented Students in STEM (SUSS).
Erin Hussey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter as @e_riss.