The Access Network
Beyond my work at UIUC, I have consulted for the Access Network - a national network bringing together nine mentoring and equity programs in STEM located at a variety of higher education institutions. In this capacity, I co-organized a three day conference, the Access Assembly, serving over fifty student and faculty member participants. The team I was a part of dealt with concerns such as housing and accessibility, but also designing conference content in terms of workshops, presentations and panels. Here, I co-created two workshops, one dealing with discussions of privilege and one addressing impostor syndrome. This work greatly improved my collaboration skills and made me a more attentive and flexible team member.
Read about my first Access Assembly here.
Later, I served on a task force planning the future expansion of the Access Network. I participated in weekly discussions with organizers from diverse educational backgrounds to identify ideological reasons for onboarding of new programs into the Network and propose practical procedures for that process. I believe that I grew immensely as an organizer through some of these rather challenging conversations, learning more about what true inclusion of diverse individuals in STEM fields could look like, grappling with how an application process can be made accessible and how a mentoring and equity oriented organization should address the nature of college education today. Considering the structure of the Access Network and its long-term goals in a more systematic and critical way has been deeply informative for me and bolstered my proficiency for creating new avenues for mentoring and outreach.
In the summer of 2020, I co-mentored the organizing group for the 2020 Access Assembly. Here, I collaborate with other co-mentors to plan, structure and lead Assembly Fellow meetings and communicate Assembly Fellow progress to the Access Network's Core Organizers.I further support and mentor Fellows in designing and executing the three-day virtual conference by creating brainstorming worksheets, workshop templates and providing individual feedback. The event was remarkably succesful and a huge point of pride for all of the organizers involved with it.