University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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Diversity Efforts

Our students and faculty participate in various outreach and training activities to promote diversity at all levels. Some of these efforts are highlighted below.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students gain invaluable research experience with our faculty and their research associates through various programs that are offered by the department (Lando/NSF) and through the college/university (North Star STEM Alliance, TRIO McNair Scholars Program). Also, several research centers of excellence offer summer opportunities to undergraduates (MRSEC: Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Center for Sustainable Polymers, and Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology). Many of our faculty members recruit undergraduate researchers, and many include a particular focus on first-generation college students and/or students from underrepresented minority groups. Please visit the links for more information as many of these opportunities are available to qualified underrepresented minority and/or first-generation college students from all around the nation.

K-12 Community Outreach

Outreach is a passion of our students and faculty, and we strive to reach K-12 students from diverse backgrounds. Every year, 10,000 students in the 3rd to 6th grades take field trips to visit our department and to participate in the biannual “Energy and U” show, a fun event that is packed with exciting demonstrations geared towards teaching the first law of thermodynamics: energy can neither be created nor destroyed. “Chemists in the Library” is a program that brings fun chemistry demonstrations to kids age 5 and up. Volunteers visit public libraries in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Cool Chemistry is an annual one-day event where middle school girls do fun experiments with female chemists at all levels right in our own chemistry labs! University on the Prairie brings hands-on science to middle to high-school students from rural areas. During the summer,the Exploring Careers in Physical Science and Engineering program offers middle and high school students the opportunity to partake in a week-long camp and do hands-on experiments in sciences and engineering. Our department participates by offering one-day modules on polymers and solar energy. For a complete listing of our Department's outreach activities, please visit the Outreach page.

Science Teachers

Our best allies to promote diversity in STEM fields are our public school teachers! Many of our research centers of excellence offer summer programs for teachers. Teachers can learn about specialized topics, ranging from bioplastics to microscopy/nanotechnology. Some faculty have longstanding relationships with teachers in the metropolitan area. Those teachers often bring their students to campus for hands on activities and demonstrations.


Our department is committed to providing an inviting and welcoming environment for all students. Annually, our department hosts Ally trainings for our students and faculty. Several of us are members of MN Queer Science, a network for the GLBTQA community in STEM fields at the U. MN Queer Science also has a strong outreach component. For example, they have visited student groups at local high schools to talk about research, science careers, experiences as LGBTQ scientists, choosing and attending a college as LGBTQ students as well as perform exciting chemistry demonstrations. In addition, high school students have come to campus to consult about their own, self-designed science projects. Discussions at MN Queer Science often touch on analysis techniques common in other fields that inform chemistry-specific research endeavors and have also led to interdisciplinary research collaborations.