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Students from L@s Ganas during a storytelling event. Woman is holding the talking stick while classmates listen.

The Latin@s Gaining Access to Networks for Advancement in Science program (L@S GANAS) aims to ensure that Latinx students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) succeed at UIC. It seeks to increase the number of Latinx professionals in the STEM field, provide financial assistance to Latinx students, increase retention of Latinx students in the STEM majors, and foster a community where Latinx students see their cultural heritage as an asset in the lab.

The Latino Cultural Center (LCC) engages with L@s GANAS research fellows through a curriculum design to help STEM students embrace their cultural assets, shape a positive self-defined identity as Latinx scientists, and expand their capacity as agents of change to improve community life.

This curriculum features the “Connecting STEM and Cultural Heritage” dialogue series exploring topics such as cultural heritage & self-identity, science in Latin America & indigenous knowledge, intergenerational differences, and environmental and climate justice.

L@S GANAS was created through a Hispanic Serving Institution STEM grant from the US Department of Education.

Las Ganas students in a story circle talking and laughing together

Student Reflections

“The struggles that people of color have gone through to take part in scientific advancement are impressive and made me not want to give up on my own pursuits.” – L@s GANAS fellow

“Today’s dialogue connected in many aspects to my identity as a scientist of color. Hearing the issues related to Latinos reminds me of so many issues that still have to be solved in [the] present time. Being able to be involved in these issues helps me understand the community better and hopefully one day be able to contribute into helping people of color.” – L@s GANAS fellow, Fall 2020

Students from L@s Ganas during a dialogue.

“I’ve learned that my peers face similar academic and inter-generational struggles that I do, and that approaching these struggles from a different perspective can offer better solutions to these problems.” – L@s GANAS fellow

“Something that was confirmed to me… was the fact that I am not the only person who has had to go through an immense amount of difficulties and rough paths to get to where we are today. Everyone has a different story of their own, but there are very similar struggles that overlap… because we are a minority trying to get a degree in STEM.” – L@s GANAS fellow, Fall 2020

las ganas

The University of Illinois Chicago’s L@s GANAS (Latin@s Gaining Access to Networks for Advancement in Science initiative) has been named a recipient of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award. Read More »

Connecting STEM & Cultural Heritage Dialogue Guide

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