Spring 2020

Being Human in STEM

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as SOCI-250  |  Chemistry, as CHEM-250


Sheila S. Jaswal (Section 01)
Leah C. Schmalzbauer (Section 01)


(Offered as CHEM 250 and SOCI 250)  This is an interactive course that combines academic inquiry and community engagement to investigate identity, inequality and representation within STEM fields--at Amherst and beyond. In the first half of the semester we will ground our understanding of the STEM experience at Amherst in national and global contexts. We will survey the interdisciplinary literature on the ways in which identity - gender, class, race, sexuality- and geographic context shape STEM persistence and belonging. In parallel, we will research the local STEM experience by conducting oral histories with current and past members of the Amherst STEM community, then collectively identify common themes that emerge. In the second half of the semester, students will design group projects that apply the findings of our research to develop resources and engage the STEM community, whether at the college, local, or national level.  Course work includes weekly readings, reflective writing, in-class discussion, and oral history research culminating in a collaborative, community engagement project which students will present in a public forum. The class will meet twice a week for 80 minutes. 

Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Limited to 20 students due to the research-intensive and discussion- and project-based nature of the class. Spring semester. Associate Professor Jaswal and Professor Schmalzbauer.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to ensure a mix of majors and class years.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Community Based Learning


2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, January 2021, January 2022, Spring 2022