NSF INCLUDES: Networking and Dialogue with Dr. Juan E. Gilbert & Dr. Ivory A. Toldson

The President of QEM, Ivory A. Toldson, hosted University of Florida, Banks Preeminence Chair in Engineering, Juan E. Gilbert, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, Wednesday September 14, at Smith Commons for networking and dialogue about NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science).
The QEM Network is one of 37 organizations and institutions of higher education to receive an INCLUDES grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  According to the director of NSF, INCLUDES "aims to broaden participation in STEM to a national scale" and "employs the concept of collective impact, uniting a wide variety of collaborators to solve this persistent problem."
As two principal investigators of the first INCLUDES awarded projects, Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Toldson discussed the “Dear Colleague Letter” that served as an impetus to the funding, new awards announced Monday September 12th, and next steps to make sure that NSF’s initial investments, totaling nearly $14 million, produce the desired outcomes.  INCLUDES Co-PI Jerlando Jackson, also joined the conversation.
The setting: Smith Commons (Located 1245 H St. NE, Washington, DC) is a Black-owned multilevel bistro serving New American fare and cocktails in a chic converted-warehouse space.
The conversation: The size and setup was conducive to networking with an interlude consisting of a moderated high-level dialogue about the DCL from congress, inaugural INCLUDES awards, and the collective imperative to make sure that NSF’s investments produce the desired outcomes for underrepresented students.
The participants: In addition to the hosts, over 30 individuals from across sectors joined QEM, to take part in a groundbreaking event.   In addition to Dr. Toldson and Dr. Gilbert, participant listened to insights from:
·      Dr. Austin A. Lane, President, Texas Southern University (TSU)

·      Tasha R. Inniss, Ph.D., Program Director, National Science Foundation

·      Dr. Jerlando F L Jackson, Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison

·      Margaret Franklin, Legislative Director, Office of Representative Alma S. Adams

·      Dr. James Turner, QEM Board Member