UAlbany Receives INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s 2023 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award

A woman wearing safety goggles and a blue shirt smiles as she holds a case of vials in each hand inside a laboratory space.
UAlbany Department of Environmental and Sustainable Engineering student researcher Tamia Wellington on Feb. 24, 2023. (photo by Patrick Dodson)

By Bethany Bump

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 15, 2023) — Today, the University at Albany’s EXCELlence in STEM Program received the 2023 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. UAlbany will be featured, along with 79 other recipients, in the September 2023 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“We are thrilled to receive this award in recognition of the work we’ve been doing in pursuit of equity in STEM education so that all students are presented with the real opportunity to not only achieve their dreams and aspirations, but also to have access to the requisite institution- and student-centered infrastructure and support to be successful,” said Rabi Musah, UAlbany chemistry professor and associate vice provost for the Learning Commons, who directs the STEM program. “Our approach has been conscious and deliberate, and our commitment to this cause extends from the highest levels of our leadership to our staff, faculty and administrators in service to our students.”

UAlbany launched its EXCELlence in STEM program last fall with support from a $2.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The program builds off an existing support network at UAlbany that provides free, highly structured tutoring to students in lower division undergraduate biology, chemistry and physics courses and has shown high rates of success across all demographics, especially among students from underrepresented backgrounds.

EXCELlence in STEM is expanding this model to all incoming STEM majors, providing students with tutors, academic advisors and financial aid counselors, and real-time monitoring that allows rapid intervention at the earliest signs of academic distress. In addition, financial support is available for students for summer research programs, as are microgrants for those facing relatively modest financial hurdles that threaten to derail their academic career.

The program also aims to overcome bias in traditional teaching methods by incentivizing faculty to restructure their syllabi and teaching approaches in ways that are more inclusive of all learners. Program results will be studied to inform best practices that can be replicated on other campuses.

"The University at Albany is unwavering in its commitment to excellence and inclusion within STEM education, and to its support of historically marginalized populations through innovative programs, such as EXCELlence in STEM," said Samuel Caldwell, chief diversity officer and associate vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at UAlbany. "This noteworthy recognition by INSIGHT Into Diversity places UAlbany in select company among the 80 institutions whose development and support of innovative programs sets a standard for advancement in education and research, as well as increasing representation of scholars and researchers in the STEM community."

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.

“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication and mentorship for underrepresented students,” said 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 2023.

For more information about the award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit