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Broadening Participation

Broadening Participation

The overarching goal of our Broadening Participation Plan is to create communities of practice focused on research and learning in our research teams, partnerships, and programs by employing best practices in mentorship, team science, and an effective culture of support.

The HDRFS Broadening Participation plan increases the number of people underrepresented in STEM research and provides STEM career mentoring for both students and faculty to achieve institutional cultural shifts, equity, and inclusion. Careful attention has been paid to ensure that underrepresented, first-generation college-going, and low socioeconomic students and faculty are integrated by infusing broadening participation metrics through all pathway programs. Objectives focus on bridges between undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels, including NV’s four minority-serving institutions.


Creating diverse communities of practice focused on research and learning in our research teams, partnerships, and programs by employing best practices in:


Mentorship that fosters, among other things, inclusivity. Mentorship is a high-impact strategy for promoting success across all career levels, including students, early career scientists, staff, research engaged administrators, and senior faculty. Tiered mentorship involves “nested” mentor-mentee relationships along the arc of a typical career path in science, which can include near-peer mentorship between graduate students and undergraduates, or postdocs and graduate students.

Interdisciplinary Team Science

“Team Science” refers to an organizational approach to research that emphasizes cross-disciplinary functionality over siloed work. Generally recognized as a collection of practices that organically result in new approaches and solutions to science problems, Team Science emphasizes relationship-building, trust, transparency, boundary-spanning, and open communication. By engaging best practices for Team Science, the HDRFS project will provide an atmosphere and platform upon which our collection of experts can truly become a team. Coordinated project structures and schedules for team interaction within HDRFS provides opportunity and incentive for individuals to participate across all functional component group activities.

Retention and Career Advancement

Project researchers, students, support staff, administrators, and post-docs will be motivated to join the team and stay if the culture around them is supportive, productive, and predictable. Our team culture is shaped by project communications, team activities, project management structure, and community interactions. Our desired team culture is also shaped by an intentional philosophy that administrative and technical support structures, including project management and institutional processes.

Several key areas to support an effective culture have been identified:

  • Support progress of team members through a combination of recognition, workload expectations, administrative mandates, technical assistance, open communication, and transparent processes
  • Access to resources for early career researchers needed to succeed, including professional development and mentorship opportunities. (e.g, manuscript and proposal writing activities, and access to technical writing support)
  • Foster team cohesion in ways that increase relationship-building amongst the team and provide support to members to thrive as part of research teams. (e.g., networking opportunities, workshops, and invited speaker series)
  • Create a culture that learns and adapts by soliciting feedback from team members

Broadening Participation Team

Michele Casella

Education and Workforce Development Co-Lead

Nevada System of Higher Education