Broadening Participation

The CDMC Broadening Participation Strategic Plan includes supporting the success of all students, faculty and staff reached by the Center and creating a culture of belonging throughout the Center. The Center annually surveys all participants for reporting to the National Science Foundation and to assess the Center's culture and programming. Across the 70 Center-funded individuals who completed the 2024 annual NSF demographics survey, 40% are female, 13% are underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities, and 6% are persons with a disability.

Creating a Culture of Belonging

In addition to integrating efforts throughout all levels of CDCM to recruit and engage students, faculty and staff with varied experiences that contribute to Center research and goals, the Center is committed to creating a welcoming and supportive culture. Center activities include:

  • Celebrations of interdisciplinary and multicultural teams and team members throughout the center in the CDCM eNewsletter and other events.
  • Gratitude moments and mental health moments in meetings, eNewsletters and other events.
  • Workshops on how to be an effective STEM role model and how to engage all students and the public in outreach and education efforts.
  • Supporting the Student Leadership Council with periodic meetings with center leadership to discuss graduate student and post doc well-being, strategies to support students, and ways to create a more welcoming research group, lab, and center environment for all center participants.
  • Peer mentoring programs to connect undergraduate and graduate students with peers in the center for sharing resources, answering questions, building a community, having fun and more. See the side bar for more information and a link to apply.

Broadening Participation through K-12 Education and Outreach

Participants at all levels of CDCM engage in precollege outreach to broaden the pipeline of students engaged with and entering the materials community. Signature CDCM broadening participation education and outreach efforts include the informal K-12 education Stuff program, where young learners and new public audiences explore materials science and materials-based technologies through hands-on demonstrations and activities, portable educator kits, closed-captioned videos, and virtual lab tours on YouTube. The CDCM Stuff program reached over 3,020 K-12 students during the current reporting period through outreach efforts with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Texas School for the Deaf Science Club, Title 1 and Dual Language Schools, and STEM Girl Day at UT Austin. Visit the Education and Outreach webpage for more information.

Broadening Participation Community College, Undergraduate and Graduate Student Recruitment and Engagement.

For those funded by CDCM who completed the annual demographics survey, 50% of undergraduate and 37% of graduate students were female; 25% of undergraduate and 7% of graduate students were underrepresented minorities; 4% of graduate students were persons with a disability. The Center actively recruited through past REU participants, HSI and HBCU networks across Texas and beyond, virtual CDCM prospective graduate student meet-ups and “Grad School 101” sessions, and strategic communications through student organizations, campus and department recruiting programs, and other outreach and recruiting to minority-serving institutions and organizations. The CREATE: Community College Research Initiative and FUSE: Fusing Undergraduates with Science and Engineering Experiences programs engage undergraduate students in research and support them within the Center community.

Campus Resources

  • Grad Life: Housing, transportation, family and childcare, health and wellness, and other campus and community resources for graduate students
  • Disability and Access: Campus resources for persons with disabilities
  • Employee Resources: Health and wellness, learning and development, conflict resolution resources and more
  • Texas Career Engagement: Career resources for all students

CDCM Newsletters

Sign up for the CDCM newsletter to learn about upcoming events and opportunities, health and wellness tips, multicultural celebrations, campus resources and more. Click the image below for an example of a past newsletter.

Screenshot of CDCM Newsletter with CDCM header at top, invitation to a field trip in the middle and the CDCM MRSEC Calendar at the bottom


Creating a Culture of Belonging: Join the MRSEC Peer Mentoring Program

Connect with other MRSEC students MRSEC in a mentoring pod for advice on campus and community resources, graduate school, research, life in Austin, or whatever else you need! These mentoring pods can bring you valuable connections and resources, new friends, collaborators and lots of fun.