SCSU Innovation Hub hosts the annual, “Connecting Students and Professionals of Color”; a community building series designed to foster a network of students and professionals from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds.

The Innovation Hub and Southern Connecticut State University is passionate about using research and innovation to positively impact student outcomes. We focus on helping students gain the awareness, experiences, skills, and access necessary to be successful while in college and beyond, especially those who are traditionally underserved and underrepresented in Life Sciences and STEM more broadly.

Since 2021, we have been working with a group of dedicated professionals at Boehringer Ingelheim and members of the Global Black Community at Pfizer. They initially reached out to us seeking to foster the development of a pipeline between a predominantly minority serving school and their companies. Based on a series of focus groups between students and the industry professionals, we initiated the community building series which we call, “Connecting Students and Professionals of Color”.

Designed for those who identify as a person of color to build a deeper sense of awareness and potential, especially among students, Connecting Students and Professionals of Color, reflects the need for ongoing organic community events. We honor the sharing of time and space in service to DEI to help younger students navigate the successful pursuit of promising career paths among STEM and Bioscience companies.

This is not a traditional networking or career fair in the sense of having employers set up tables or booths and students coming to hand their resumes. This is about relationship building as well as building knowledge, awareness and understanding around DEI-related issues. Moreover, during this event, students, educators, industry professionals, and guests from the community are encouraged to participate in discussions around barriers common to those who are underserved and underrepresented, attend thematic and informational break-out sessions, and network.