What is the STEM Incubator Program?

The STEM Incubator is a cohort-based summer research program specifically developed at 麻豆国产AV in 2019 to educate and mentor first-generation or low-income students without previous STEM research experience.

Mission and Vision

The mission of the STEM Incubator is to develop research-ready sophomores through a dynamic onboarding platform that seeks to lower the barrier of entry for students to early-career research experiences through a focus on hands-on exploration across STEM disciplines and on increasing feelings of self-efficacy, student agency, and belonging.

Through this work, we intend to establish 麻豆国产AV as a nationally recognized center for training undergraduate students for STEM careers.


  • Equip students with the professional and technical skills needed for entry into STEM research.

  • Increase students鈥 confidence in their ability to perform in STEM fields.

  • Strengthen career preparedness and broad awareness of STEM career pathways.

  • Connect students with faculty, staff, and academic resources at 麻豆国产AV.

  • Establish and reinforce cohorts to promote student success beyond the program.

Who is the STEM Incubator Program for?

STEM Incubator is for students who are exploring their interests in STEM fields. Rather than focusing on one specific area of research, STEM Incubator is a hands-on, dynamic way to learn about a variety of majors, types of scientific research, and individual self-discovery.

Our Learning Goals


Expose students to current research topics in chemistry, biology, and data science, emphasizing interdisciplinary research topics, including drug delivery, nanotechnology, and biostatistics.


Forge strong relationships between students and professors who can serve as mentors. Introduce students to Amherst staff that can support them throughout their time at the College and alumni working in scientific fields.

Research Skills

Introduce students to fundamental research skills, including finding and citing scientific literature using databases and reference management tools, experimental design, hypothesis testing, and science communication.


Allow students to be creative in their problem-solving and experimental design, including proposing new experiments and technologies based on their research.

Summer 2020 Pilot Program

The STEM Incubator was piloted over six weeks in the summer of 2020 with 18 rising sophomores led by three faculty co-leaders: Brittney Bailey, assistant professor of statistics; Christopher Durr, assistant professor of chemistry; and Marc Edwards, assistant professor of biology.

Even with the challenge of adapting the proposed in-person program to a digital format, the pilot was a resounding success. Among other gains, it:

  • Increased students鈥 reported sense of confidence and belonging;
  • Increased students鈥 interest in participating in STEM research at Amherst and enhanced their perception of the accessibility of such opportunities;
  • Expanded students鈥 awareness of the range of potential STEM professions; and
  • Provided opportunities for field-testing and adapting novel approaches to teaching introductory STEM-specific skills in mathematics, statistics and the physical and life sciences.

Program Features

  • Small-group 鈥渉omeroom鈥 model of six students and a lead faculty
  • Friday Colloquium with invited alumni speakers
  • Incubator Symposium, a capstone experience in which project groups present their work to a larger audience

By the Numbers


Students who have participated to date




Faculty and staff partners



The Incubator Program: Hatching the STEM Scientists of the Future

A lab in the 麻豆国产AV Science Center

Amherst News Story

The STEM Incubator initiative aims to provide students from underrepresented backgrounds with the tools to succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Read the Story

Meet the Students

A selfie photo of Fareeda Adejumo
Fareeda Adejumo 鈥 Texas

What surprised you about being part of the Incubator program?

What surprised me the most about the incubator was how fun it was. There are just so many enjoyable moments and it reminded me of why I loved STEM in the first place. There is a different sense of enjoyment when you are learning just to learn without the fear of traditional assessments such as test and quizzes.

A selfie photo of Diego Carias
Diego Carias 鈥 Los Angeles, CA

What surprised you about being part of the Incubator program?

I was surprised at the level of reassurance I received from my professors despite my lack of experience in research. The environment they were able to create was extremely valuable to me as someone who is a FLI student. Additionally, the overall programming was incredibly educational and inspiring. This came from the interesting work we were able to do and also the speakers brought by the team.

What would you want prospective students to know about the Incubator program?

Work hard and do your readings! The more prepared you are, the more you can get out of the program!

What was a meaningful takeaway you discovered from being in the Incubator program?

Anybody is capable of embarking on something as daunting as research.

EJ Collins, interviewed by Sterling Kee 鈥23

What aspects of the STEM Incubator program were meaningful to you?

Sam Young, interviewed by Claire Hawthorne 鈥21

What advice would you give to students interested in the STEM Incubator program?

A selfie photo of Maria Andrade
Maria Andrade 鈥 Massachusetts

What was a meaningful takeaway you discovered from being in the Incubator program?

The Incubator program was truly an unforgettable experience. I am extremely grateful to have been part of something so special. The reason why I decided to participate in the program was because of my passion for STEM. The Incubator program, however, showed me the true extent of this passion. A beauty about being in the STEM field is that there is always something new to learn. I learned so much in the Incubator, things that I would have otherwise believed were too complex for me to comprehend. At the end of the program, I felt confident about my ability to excel in this field. Most importantly, I know I have an amazing support system in my peers and the instructors. A very special thank you to Professors Bailey, Durr and Edwards for making this experience undeniably, a success.

A selfie photo of Sara Omer
Sara Omer 鈥 North Carolina

What surprised you about being part of the Incubator program?

Having to be on zoom for 6 weeks, I was surprised how long I was motivated for. I was really enjoying the different weekly topics which made the 6 weeks fly by.

What would you want prospective students to know about the Incubator program?

Take advantage of the safe space that has been created for you to learn the basics of research before applying to labs! It will truly help you gain confidence in yourself and motivate you to plan out the rest of your college experience. Also get to know the faculty and don't be afraid to reach out to them once the program is over.

What was a meaningful takeaway you discovered from being in the Incubator program?

The biggest takeaway I had after the program concluded was that I should be confident in my abilities which will only improve! Also, that the path to where I want to end up is not a clear one which is okay!

Jorge Roads 鈥 Texas

What surprised you about being part of the Incubator program?

I always thought that STEM was about meticulously following the steps of previous scientists and sticking to the textbook, but the professors who led the incubator encouraged creative thinking and cleverness to engage in scientific thought, something I鈥檇 never thought I鈥檇 be able to do.

2020 Incubator Symposium

September 2020

Three students presenting their 2020 Incubator research developing an app called 鈥淕oing Viral鈥 that could be used for communities to help combat COVID-19.