The Instars Mentoring Program: Successes, Challenges, and Lessons Learned Over 5-Years of Broadening Participation in Freshwater Science

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Mentoring Program engages undergraduate students from under-represented groups in the study of freshwaters and provides student funding to attend the SFS Annual Meeting. The program offers undergraduate Instars Fellows an opportunity to learn about the many disciplines of freshwater science and to interact with other undergraduates, graduate student mentors, and professional SFS members. Since the program’s inception in 2011, Instars has hosted a total of 63 undergraduates as Fellows and 32 SFS graduate students as Mentors. A broad diversity of under-represented groups, including African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and First-Generation College students have participated, with many alumni continuing into SFS-related graduate programs and some even returning to the program as graduate mentors. Others have transitioned into careers in the freshwater sciences or education. Instars is an important program for the SFS’s Education and Diversity Committee to meet its mission to promote membership diversity. To date, funding has been provided by the SFS for more than $50K with substantial assistance from partnering institutions. In this presentation we outline the many successes of the program and remaining challenges.


Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting (SFS)


Sacramento, CA