President Talitha Hampton attended the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) December and participated on a CSSP organized panel to address issues of recruiting members to our societies, retaining them, and mentoring them. The four panelists included:
Stephen B. Thomas: Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration and Director of the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity. He is Principal Investigator for the National Research Mentoring Network, a consortium of biomedical professionals and institutions working to enhance networking and mentoring of under-represented groups.
Mary Garcia-Cazarin: Scientific Advisor for the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program in the NIH’s Office of Disease Prevention and a Board Member of Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
Eddy Ameen: Assistant Director of the American Psychological Association’s Graduate Students (APAGS) section. He is involved in promoting training opportunities for emerging scientists and creating a culture of leadership in APA.
Talitha Hampton: Program Manager at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and President of National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).
President Hampton discussed the changing landscape of association membership and included some contextual references through the lens of generational and ethnic diversity. In 2015, the majority of the workforce will be generation X (30-46) and Y (16-29), but almost 90% of all associations are governed by the Baby Boomer Generation. In 1999, African Americans represented 12% of the population, but they earned 4% of the PhDs in STEM.
President Hampton presented key questions for consideration in the categories of recruitment, retention, and mentoring that all societies should be intentionally seeking answers to.
Do your potential members see lasting value in the organization?
Is your mission represented in your leadership?
Can an outsider see intentionality of your purpose?
Can your potential members see themselves in your leadership?
Does current leadership represent the people that you serve or the people you intend to serve?
Are there intentional succession plans that provide a pathway to leadership and engagement?
Can we promote dialogue around non-traditional differences?
The opportunities to have a mentor in a specific science and engineering discipline that is of the same ethnicities are sparse. Can we be intentional about other pathways for a mentoring connection
Do you have mentors that have shared experiences? Although same/similar ethnic backgrounds are not required, they are still critical to increasing participation