Press Release

AAC&U Launches New Professional Development Program to Support BIPOC Women in STEM

Washington, DC – The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the launch of its newest professional development program, the Convergence Program for BIPOC Women in STEM. In partnership with the Women in Engineering ProActive Network and, Inc., and through generous funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, AAC&U will host the program’s inaugural cohort of ten women in STEM, who are either Black, Indigenous, or considered a Person of Color (BIPOC). Convergence is a professional development and entrepreneurial incubator program that is culturally responsive, empowering, and fully committed to advancing the nation’s social justice agenda through inclusion of the scientific and technological innovations of BIPOC women in the US STEM enterprise. The program provides early entrepreneurial education, access to mentors, and viable connections to an investor network. Program Fellows also receive $15,000 to advance their work from design and development to production and marketing.

“We are grateful to the Luce Foundation for its support of BIPOC women in STEM. Far too often this group is recurringly marginalized from the systems, structures, and knowledge networks that can ensure our nation has the very best ideas at work to preserve its global competitiveness, economic stability, and overall quality of life,” said Kelly Mack, vice president for undergraduate STEM education at AAC&U.

Convergence Program Fellows represent a wide range of higher education institutions and organizations. The scope of their innovations and inventions ranges from early to postsecondary education to aid for Black farming in America to developing software that will recognize American Sign Language (ASL) hand gestures in deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. The 2022 Convergence Fellows are:

  • Gillian Bayne, PhD, Lehman College of the City University of New York
  • Levern Currie, DoD SMART
  • Somilez Francis, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Marjorie Gondré-Lewis, PhD, Howard University
  • Fatima Jackson, ManPower Group
  • Nora Khalil, Northeastern University
  • Aarti Kuver, PhD, AKScientist
  • Jin Montclare, PhD, New York University Tandon School of Engineering
  • Muhsinah Morris, PhD, Morehouse College
  • Ariel Stolz, Caribbean Green Technology Center at the University of the US Virgin Islands

“We are so inspired by our Convergence Fellows and confident that their entrepreneurial ideas and innovations will make important differences in academia, industry, and our everyday lives that will continue to build an equitable future for marginalized people,” said Shanalee Gallimore, postdoctoral fellow at AAC&U.

About AAC&U

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the democratic purposes of higher education by promoting equity, innovation, and excellence in liberal education. Through our programs and events, publications and research, public advocacy, and campus-based projects, AAC&U serves as a catalyst and facilitator for innovations that improve educational quality and equity and that support the success of all students. In addition to accredited public and private, two-year, and four-year colleges and universities and state higher education systems and agencies throughout the United States, our membership includes degree-granting higher education institutions in more than twenty-five countries as well as other organizations and individuals. To learn more, visit