Seeds Of Success: Rerouting The Lineage In Our Diverse Communities


Gisel BelloFollow


Biological Sciences


Fontes - Barros, Michelle




Success; Diversity; Building; Community; Seeds; CELS; Lineage; Inclusion; Academic; Professional; Social

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



Michelle Fontes-Barros

Advisor Department

Deans Office, The College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS)


The College of the Environment & Life Science Seeds of Success Program (CELS SOS) is working to establish the blueprint for a networking/mentoring program for underrepresented students in the College of Environmental & Life Sciences community with hopes to increase retention of underrepresented students in CELS majors and build a foundation of support for the students. There is a plethora of reasons as to why underrepresented students struggle to get themselves through college; the most identifiable being lack of support, resources, family stability, and success lineage. A multitude of the underrepresented students here at the University of Rhode Island, in accordance to other institutions nation wide, are first generation students who are blindly trailblazing their way through college: an experience no one in their family can guide them through.

It is an intrinsic law of physics that without a stable foundation of support, it is nearly impossible to build an edifice that is structurally sound; this is the same law we follow here at Seeds of Success. We are striving to be the foundation of support and empowerment for our underrepresented CELS students here at the University of Rhode Island. We realize that this mission cannot be accomplished without direct consultation of current underrepresented CELS students, hence their input has been pivotal in propelling us forward towards solidifying the program and addressing their personal needs. Sadly, research unveils numerous statistics that exhibit the common thread that students who start out planning to major in STEM fields graduate at far lower rates than their non-STEM classmates, especially if they’re Black, Latino or Native American. The obvious problem with this is that if students do not have accountability partners/mentors to help them down a successful career path that embodies their dreams, the vicious cycle of mediocrity repeats itself and the students become one more statistic for the books. It's a terrible chain reaction that needs to be broken but it requires brave students and a whole community of support to shatter that cycle.

We are here to show that mentors come in many different forms and can in fact be the peers struggling right next to you in class. Unfortunately, our success lineage is scarce; leaving not enough rooting matter to uphold a small community, therefore, the objective is to start forming our own success lineage for the ones treading blindly behind us; starting the success lineage that was not passed down to us because our preceding ancestors had bigger issues to overcome. In an effort to address the unnumbered inadequacies misplaced in the hands of our CELS students and implement our program successfully, Seeds of Success will be a mentoring/networking program that will focus on developing and refining academic, professional, and social components in the college careers of our members.