National Recognition of Programs That Are Making a Difference for All Underrepresented Groups in the Fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

(Bel Air, MD)—Today, Harford Community College's High Intensity Student Engagement Model  (HI-STEM), an NSF-sponsored program, received the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The Inspiring Programs in STEM Award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Harford Community College will be featured, along with 49 other recipients, in the September 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.

“HCC is honored to receive this recognition from INSIGHT Into Diversity,” says Dr. Jacqueline S. Jackson, Interim President of Harford Community College. “We are committed to equity and inclusion in everything we do. In STEM particularly, we have been proactive in pursuing grants and other funding opportunities to encourage traditionally underrepresented groups to consider a career in the sciences, and to support them during their coursework at HCC.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Harford Community College's High Intensity Student Engagement Model because of the nature of the project. The HI-STEM project builds a cohort learning community among the HI-STEM scholars by bringing faculty mentors and students together for presentations and discussions on relevant STEM careers through monthly seminars. Students are recruited at college admissions events and during specific STEM Connection Days, when high school students and their teachers and counselors come to Harford and participate in laboratory engagement activities to learn more about STEM programs at HCC. The cohorts participate in events such as resume writing to learn how to pursue summer internships and research opportunities. The HI-STEM program sponsors trips to events such as the National Institutes of Health Community College Day each November. Students also attend regional events such as the Maryland Collegiate STEM conference where they present posters of their research experiences. Other opportunities include course-based research experiences and workshops on topics such as study skills and imposter syndrome. Students also participate in events on how to successfully transfer to and apply for scholarships at four-year institutions. The math, science, and engineering faculty involved in this project are re-designing their science and math courses to make them more student centered with the use of research-based pedagogical practices. Additionally, several math and physics courses utilize supplemental instruction, with peer tutors trained by the HCC Learning Center, embedded in the classroom. The faculty also participate in an annual professional development experience meant to improve their mentoring skills and discuss with each other which specific strategies they have utilized in their work with the students to keep them on track in their coursework and promote overall student success. This HI-STEM program is open to all students with financial need with a 2.8 college-level GPA and a declared major in any STEM discipline. To date the participants in the program have been approximately 45% female and 30% of the students have come from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in STEM.

“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication, and mentorship for underrepresented students,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in or are interested in a future career in STEM. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”

A call for nominations for this award was announced in April 2020.

For more information about the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit

About INSIGHT Into Diversity

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today and is known for its annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion in higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as explorations of best practices and profiles of exemplary programs. In our Career Center, readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at