What to expect at the virtual Access Assembly

By Mikayla Bulson, Hassan Hassan & Chandra Turpen 

Every year the sessions at our annual Assembly are developed by student leaders (called Assembly Fellows) from all Access Sites (Chi-Sci Scholars at Chicago State Univ., Compass at Univ. of California Berkeley, CU-Prime at Univ. of Colorado Boulder, Equity Constellation at Univ. of Maryland, GPS at Univ. Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IMPRESS at Rochester Institute of Technology, North Star at Univ. of Oregon, Polaris at Ohio State Univ., and Sundial at Arizona State Univ.). The Assembly sessions and schedule for this year are still being developed. If you want to get a sense for what sorts of events occur at an Assembly check out our 2020 Access Assembly event page, schedule and session descriptions.

This event might be a good fit for you if you are committed to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM and want to expand your toolkit for organizing and acting locally to address these issues. Many past attendees have appreciated meeting like-minded people that are also committed to tackling these issues in STEM. Engaging with the Access community can relieve the strain of ideological isolation that some students can experience in STEM departments.

The Assembly Fellow (AF) team is planning to share a pre-recorded session on an “Introduction to Access” and hold a live Q&A pre-meeting session that details the scope of the assembly sessions and what to expect there. The live session will be led by an AF Team mentor and 1 to 2 Assembly Fellows who have attended at least one Access Assembly.

Mikayla’s perspective: Going into the Access Assembly, you can be sure to expect a busy few days. You will have the opportunity to meet new people, attend a variety of sessions, and learn many new things! I attended my first Assembly last year as an Assembly Fellow (AF) and I helped run two sessions. I loved it so much that I’m back as an AF this year! My favorite part of the assembly last year was meeting a diverse group of people from across the nation and hanging out/playing games at the end of each day. While it is easy to get wrapped up in the Assembly, it is important to remember to take breaks away from the computer and stretch or take a walk between sessions. It is more than okay to sit out on a session; we don’t expect everyone to attend every session on the schedule! 

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