iCons' 12th Student Cohort Is Its Largest and Most Diverse

iCons' 12th Student Cohort Is Its Largest and Most Diverse

The innovative interdisciplinary program focuses on real-world problem solving 

December 17, 2021

The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Integrated Concentration in Science program, or iCons, recently launched its 12th cohort—the largest and most diverse in the program’s history. All told, the 12th cohort boasts 73 students from 25 majors in five UMass Amherst schools and colleges, with 61 percent of students identifying as BIPOC.


The launch of the new cohort was recently celebrated in an event that included the UMass Amherst Chancellor, Kumble Subbaswamy, and Dean Karl Rethemeyer of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Chancellor Subbaswamy worked with and learned from the new iCons students as they identified real-world problems worthy of study in their iCons 1 course, which takes place in Spring 2022. Wei Fan, professor of chemical engineering and the new iCons Teaching Fellow, was also welcomed.

Scott Auerbach, the Mahoney Family Sponsored Executive Director of iCons and professor of chemistry at UMass Amherst, says, “welcoming the largest and most diverse cohort to date is a great milestone in the history of the UMass iCons Program. We are so proud of the newest iCons innovators, coming from 20 STEM majors and 5 Business majors, and we applaud their belief in the power of people to solve important societal problems.”

The annual launch event features a discussion and debate among new iCons students about what problems are worthy of study. Students pitched many problems including food insecurity, water scarcity, and nuclear waste treatment, but the winner this year was antibiotic resistance because of its overlap with health and agricultural practices.

Photos of the event are available on Facebook.

About iCons

The UMass iCons Program is a certificate program focusing on real-world problem solving in biomedicine/biosystems and renewable energy, open to all students at UMass Amherst in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and business. The mission of iCons is to inspire a diverse generation of innovators in STEM and business, with the attitudes and skills needed to solve problems facing society. iCons, which is in its 12th year, has graduated 230 alumni who have found career success in education, entrepreneurship, industry, law, medicine, policy, and research. The program is supported by the UMass College of Natural Sciences, the Mahoney Family, the Chleck Family Foundation, and members of the iCons Industry Consortium: Waters Corporation and Zipher Medical Affairs.

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