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Opening Remarks: Stemming the Mental Health Crisis in STEM: Seeding Transformative Change Through a National Convening on the State of Mental Health in STEM

During this presentation, we'll provide an overview of the orienting position for the convening, shed light on the mental health crisis in STEM, position the convening as a conduit for change, and put out a call to action for attendees. 


Dr. Kerrie Wilkins-Yel

Dr. Kerrie Wilkins-Yel is an equity-focused scholar, consultant, and community engaged leader who works to advance justice, liberation, and wellness in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Specifically, she 1) examines how institutional agents, such as graduate advisors, can effect transformative change in STEM and, 2) creates culturally sustaining interventions designed to elevate mental health and wellness among STEM students, particularly those with intersecting minoritized identities (e.g., Women of Color). Dr. Wilkins-Yel is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston as well as the Executive Director of Radical Investment in Strategic Solutions towards Equity (RISSE) Consulting LLC. She is also the founder and co-director of the I CAN PERSIST STEM Initiative, a liberatory multigenerational counterspace designed to advance STEM persistence among Women and Girls of Color in a manner that centers their thriving. Dr. Wilkins-Yel is an NSF Early CAREER Awardee, and, to date, her work has been supported by more than $8M in grant funding. She is the recipient of the Emerging Leader for Women in Psychology Award, and the Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Counseling Psychology. 


Dr. Jennifer Bekki

Dr. Jennifer M. Bekki is an Associate Professor in The Polytechnic School (TPS) within the Fulton Schools of Engineering (FSE) and the Associate Dean of Inclusive Excellence within FSE.  Her scholarship two primary goals:  1) identifying opportunities for systemic changes to graduate STEM education that address structural inequities arising from racism, sexism, and ableism; 2) illuminateing the impacts of support (interpersonal and structural/programmatic) on STEM graduate student well being and success. In these endeavors, Dr. Bekki is grateful to be in collaboration both with scholars from the communities their research strives to support and with scholars from the mental health communities.

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