Be an agent of change in stem

The Breakthrough Inclusive Action Tool Kit

Why are we doing this?

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics will advance farther, faster, and to greater heights only if everyone is given a fair chance to contribute to that advancement while contributing their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, physical ability, and myriad other immutable identities to that pursuit. But there’s work to do—STEM is not an inclusive, equitable enterprise—urgent action is needed to make the training and advancement of STEM professionals fair, inclusive and equitable for all.

Who is this for?

The Breakthrough Inclusive Action Tool Kit is for anyone ready to become an agent of change to make academic STEM culture more inclusive—from individual students and faculty in STEM fields, to campus administration and student organizations, to multi-campus coalitions and governing bodies.

What is it?

It is a collection of beginnings for advancing STEM inclusion. This kit contains interventions that have been demonstrated to weaken the facets of academic STEM culture that have prevented comprehensive inclusion of folks from underrepresented and marginalized groups in STEM. The actions in this kit are organized by the arenas where action is needed and are bolstered by full citations and resources for diving deeper.

The Tool Kit is organized into two sections:

  • Changing The System is focused on institutional and community work to move towards a more inclusive STEM academic culture. This section of the tool kit contains actions at both the individual and community level because systemic change is fueled by both.
  • Navigating The System is for students. While this work is ongoing, we’ve collected strategies that have helped some students from minoritized groups in STEM in the hope that they are a resource for you.

What should I do with it?

That’s up to you. Take on one of the actions in this kit or dozens, share the kit with power holders or the disenfranchised, use it as a to-do list or for self-care, contribute revisions, and point out omissions or use it to host an event that makes space for critical dialogue. 

Take Action

Download the full kit and distribute for non-commercial purposes at the bottom of this page. Here’s a preview of topics from the Breakthrough Inclusive Action Toolkit

DATA: Audit Representation

Measure Student Representation – Be Mindful Of Underreported Identities – Audit Positions of Power – Monitor Retention – Interpret Retention Data Correctly

RESOURCES: Count Dollars And Cents

Prioritize Compensation – Account For Funding – Measure Square Footage

OPPORTUNITIES: Bring Equity To Application Processes

Value Diversity – Widen The Search – Anonymize Applicants – Be Wary of “Fit” – Train And Diversify Power Holders – Ditch Entrance Exams And Recommendation Letters

CULTURE: Support Inclusive And Equitable STEM Culture

Avoid Gaslighting And Microaggressions – End Weed Out Courses – Audit Syllabi – Ditch Outdated Perspectives – Promote A Growth Mindset – Take Small Actions- Amplify Inclusive Multimedia

COMMUNITY: Create, Support, and Protect Safe Places And Community Spaces

Get Involved With Student Groups – Organize An Inclusive Event – Create Living Learning Communities – Establish Norms – Change Norms Not People

MENTORSHIP: How To Be A Better mentor

Provide Well-Rounded Mentoring – Build Around Shared Values – Aid Student Support Programs


Mitigate Stereotype Threat – Build A Peer Support Network – Identify Role Models – Take Credit – Practice Affirmations – Practice A Growth Mindset


The Breakthrough Inclusive Action Tool Kit was designed to be informed by research AND community needs. This tool kit will run through revision and iteration cycles informed by community dialogue. Those versions will be updated here with acknowledgments to contributors.

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