UMass iCons Program Celebrates Success in Promoting Women and Diversity in STEM at its 10th Graduation Ceremony

Pic from 2023 Senior Celebration

The UMass Amherst Integrated Concentration in STEM (iCons) program proudly concluded its 10th Annual Senior Exposition, showcasing its remarkable success in promoting women in STEM and fostering their success as innovators. The event, held on May 18, 2023, marked another milestone in the program's dedication to empowering underrepresented voices in science, technology, engineering, and math.

With an unwavering commitment to breaking barriers, the iCons Program celebrated a significant achievement as it graduated 40 students – its largest class ever. Perhaps even more impressive is the gender composition of the 10th graduating class: of the 40 iCons grads, 35 (88%) identify as female, gender diverse, or non-binary, highlighting the program's success in creating an inclusive environment that encourages and supports women pursuing STEM careers.

Pic of graduating seniors at Senior CelebrationThe Senior Exposition served as a platform for these talented young innovators to showcase their breakthrough research projects. Through engaging student keynote presentations and poster sessions – on topics ranging from Alzheimer’s and antibiotic resistance to energy-efficient wastewater treatment – the graduating seniors demonstrated their subject matter expertise and their ability to address real-world challenges with creative technical solutions.

In addition to empowering women in STEM, the iCons Program also achieved significant milestones in fostering diversity as a notable number of women of color graduated from the program, further enhancing the representation of minoritized groups within STEM.

"I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities and support I have received through the UMass iCons Program. As a woman of color in STEM, being part of a welcoming community has been instrumental in my personal and academic growth," shared Nancy Blankson, a graduating Biology student on the biomedicine/biosystems track.

Nancy Blankson receiving her iCons CertificateThe iCons program has consistently produced exceptional graduates who go on to make significant contributions in their respective fields. Through its interdisciplinary curriculum, emphasis on hands-on and team-based learning, and mentorship opportunities, iCons has prepared its students for success in a rapidly evolving post-college work landscape.

"We are immensely proud of the achievements of our students, especially the high percentage of women and the diversity among our graduates," said Dr. Scott Auerbach, Mahoney Family Executive Director of the iCons program. "At UMass Amherst, we are dedicated to creating an inclusive learning environment that reflects our diverse world. The success of our students demonstrates that when given equal opportunities and support, women and other individuals from underrepresented backgrounds will excel in STEM."

The 10th Annual Senior Expo and Celebration has demonstrated the transformative impact of the iCons Program. UMass Amherst as a whole remains committed to empowering the next generation of innovators in STEM, ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their background, have an equal opportunity to thrive.