January 2022

Being Human in STEM

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-250  |  Chemistry, as CHEM-250


Jeffers L. Engelhardt (Section 01J)
Sheila S. Jaswal (Section 01J)
Shu-Min Liao (Section 01J)
Josef G. Trapani (Section 01J)


(Offered as BIO 250, CHEM 250) This is an interactive course that combines academic inquiry and community engagement to investigate identity, inequality and representation within Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields--at Amherst and beyond. We begin the course by grounding 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 - race, gender, class, ability, sexuality- and geographic context shape STEM persistence and belonging. We will bring this literature into conversation with our own Amherst experiences. These challenging conversations require vulnerability, openness and the ability to tolerate discomfort. We will work from day one to build a brave space whose foundation is trust, accountability and growth. Students will design group projects that apply themes from the literature and our seminar discussions to develop resources and engage the STEM community, whether at the college, local, or national level. Course work includes critical reading and discussion, reflective writing, and collaborative work culminating in community engagement proposals which students will share with the campus and the broader public.

Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. This course will be taught in two sections

January Term: Professors Engelhardt, Jaswal, Liao, Trapani and TBD.

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, Online Only


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, January 2021, January 2022, Spring 2022