STEM and Race: Can We Talk?

Mar 20, 2021

01:00 PM - 04:15 PM

Biology Building

129 East Jefferson Street, Iowa City, IA 52245

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film poster

Can We Talk?

"Can We Talk?" explores the issue of ‘social belonging’ in the context of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and the effect it has on the lives of underrepresented people of color (UR-POC) who are pursuing an education or career in STEM, or who have decided to leave because of an overwhelming feeling of not belonging. The film has screened at venues across the U.S., at scientific conferences, colleges and universities, federal agencies, and for non-profit organizations. In post-discussion screenings, it has become explicitly clear that institutions want to expand the STEM workforce to include UR-POC, but how to do that, moving forward, requires a better understanding of the lives lived (currently and historically) of UR-POC.

"Can We Talk?" will screen at 1:00 pm, followed by a discussion with national academic and agency leaders at the intersection of STEM and race, moderated by the filmmaker, Professor Kendall Moore of the University of Rhode Island. After a short break, we will convene a panel focusing specifically on race and STEM at the University of Iowa.


1:00-2:00  Screening of "Can We Talk?"

2:00-3:00  Discussion Panel 1

  • Moderator: Kendall Moore, filmmaker and Professor of Journalism and Film Media, Harrington School of Communication and Media, University of Rhode island
  • Vernon MorrisDirector and Professor, School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University
  • Brandon JonesProgram Director, Geosciences, National Science Foundation
  • Aradhna Tripati—Associate Professor and Director, Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, UCLA
  • Catalina Martinez—Physical Scientist and Educator, Office of Exploration and Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Wendy Smythe—Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota-Duluth

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:15 Discussion Panel 2: Race and STEM at Iowa

  • Moderator: Darryl Heller—Director, Civil Rights Heritage Center, Indiana University South Bend
  • Armando Bryson—Undergraduate Student
  • Nelson A. Colón (2016 PhD Mathematics)—AI & Cybersecurity Strategist, Presidential Innovation Fellow, US Department of Transportation
  • Jorge Moreno (2018 BS Biology)—Doctoral Candidate, Princeton University
  • Leo Rodriguez (2011 PhD Physics)—Assistant Professor, Grinnell College
  • Lagi Tausaga-Collins—Undergraduate Student
  • Antonio Woodard—(2019 BA Criminology, Law, and Justice) MSW Candidate, School of Social Work

A College of Liberal Arts Theme Year Event

Learn more about the 2020-21 CLAS Theme Year: Pursuing Racial Justice at the University of Iowa

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at

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