CNS Student Success & Diversity

The College of Natural Sciences (CNS) Office of Student Success and Diversity provides guidance and services to help students succeed in the sciences throughout their undergraduate career. The Office works as a catalyst to support and reinforce the College's commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community. To this end, we develop initiatives to increase the recruitment, retention, and success of CNS students, especially those from populations traditionally marginalized in the sciences including those from underrepresented minority populations (Black/African American, Latinx, Indigenous/First Nations, Pacific Islander), first-generation college, low-income, and transfer students.

Our mission is to inspire, guide, support, and empower students from every walk of life to succeed from their freshman through their senior year. 

We are located in 217 Morrill 3. Stop by and see us!

#BlackInSTEM at UMass: Thriving in the Sciences as a Student of Color

In this great time of uncertainty, there are also opportunities for a better tomorrow. The global pandemic and national awakening to racial violence has challenged us to consider our relationship to each other, our institutions, and established academic and social structures.

#BlackInSTEM at UMass contributes to this conversation by providing a forum for Black and non-Black students or alumni of color to connect with and hear from Black faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students as they navigate careers in higher education. Everyone is welcome!

In addition, the office provides a range of support for undergraduates, including:

For more information, please contact us: 

Melishia I. Santiago, Ph.D., Director,

Linda Ziegenbein, Ph.D., Academic and Diversity Advisor,

Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am-4:30 pm.

Please click here to see the list of activities for this semester!

First-Generation Pioneers: Biology RAP (Bio-Pioneers)

Bio-Pioneers is a themed residential academic program celebrating first-generation students in CNS who are life sciences majors (Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Animal Sciences, and Pre-Veterinary Science).

The Bio-Pioneers program helps students transition to college and prepares them for a career in science. Students in this residential academic program (RAP) take the specially designed seminars their first year including their required first-year seminar (fall).  They also complete the required introductory Biology courses (151, 152, 153) in a small-sized classroom. Program participants will interact with CNS faculty members and staff and learn about research opportunities.

Transfer Student Alliance Program

The Transfer Student Alliance Program was created to assist transfer students with their unique needs in transitioning to the university. 

Forsythe Grange Mentoring Program

The Forsythe Grange Mentoring Program creates opportunities for undergraduate students to be engaged in mentorship, especially students belonging to underserved groups in science disciplines, such as first-generation, underrepresented minorities, and those demonstrating financial need. Students receive scholarships and serve as mentors, open to sharing experiences and knowledge about their science area with incoming first-year students.

William Lee Science Impact Program 

The William Lee Science Impact Program (Lee SIP) is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program designed to expand and broaden participation in undergraduate research. The program provides students the opportunity to work on fun, novel, and interesting scientific questions by matching them with faculty members with similar research interests. Lee SIP Scholars are mentored directly by research faculty, work within a research team, and participate in professional development workshops.

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation

The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program strengthens the preparation, representation, and success of underrepresented minority students majoring in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Please complete your application here and submit the letter of recommendation here. For more information, please contact Melishia I. Santiago at Applications are available from February 1, 2022 to March 1, 2022. 

Recruitment and Outreach

The Office of Student Success and Diversity supports the recruitment of students from historically marginalized and underserved populations through programming for students from local high schools and community colleges and participating in University-wide recruitment efforts.


In collaboration with several offices across campus, the Office of Student Success and Diversity participates in campus-wide recruitment events.


An event hosted by the office and other STEM colleges. This event is a fantastic opportunity for students and faculty from community colleges to learn about new opportunities and initiatives at UMass that are offered for transfer students. This event is open to all community colleges, but focuses on those in Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin counties. Also, please contact us to schedule a virtual or in-person visit to your community college! 


The program is a partnership between the State of Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts and Greenfield, Holyoke, and Springfield Technical Community Colleges to encourage community college students to pursue majors in the sciences and successfully transition to the University. Events include hosting current community college students for on-campus visits as well as a summer bridge program for incoming transfer students. For more information about Stem Starter Academy, visit the following link:


We promote higher education and pursuit of degrees in science disciplines by hosting high school students for day visits to the college. Please contact us to schedule a virtual or in-person visit to your school! 

Learn more about the connections between the College of Natural Sciences and our local community here.

Social Media

We have an active social media presence that we use to highlight the diversity of our college and university. Our #WeAreCNS campaign, for example, allows students to tell us about their lives. You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Campus Resources

UMass Amherst has a range of resources you can tap into to support your Student Success.