Understanding what STEM mentoring ecosystems need to thrive: A STEM-ME framework
Racial and gender disparities persist in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) despite decades of mentoring interventions to improve recruitment and retention. We offer a STEM Mentoring Ecosystems (STEM-ME) framework to better situate, understand, and advance the mentoring systems that are needed to bring about change. We outline a STEM-ME framework, which we argue require shifts in perspective, expanding beyond individual mentees and mentors, as well as specialized mentoring programs, to analyze the mentoring ecosystems within which STEM mentoring operates. Next, we use this framework to examine and critique current mentoring infrastructure and mentor preparation; this includes an inventory of assets and gaps as pertaining to faculty, students, and administrators as mentors. Then, we examine how silos could be more synergistic, which new structures are needed, who and where the ecological stewards are, and implications for systems change. How the STEM-ME framework informs future empirical research and practice is discussed.
Reflection: This resource poses specific questions regarding what we should consider as we look to re-envisioning mentoring for Black STEM students at the national, institutional, and local mentoring networks