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Launching Academics on the Tenure-Track: an Intentional Community in Engineering

“After participating in LATTICE, I had access to many peers and mentors in academia who looked like me. Participating in LATTICE helped me feel like I belong in academia”

LATTICE Participant

Program Overview

Launching Academics on the Tenure-Track: an Intentional Community in Engineering (LATTICE), a joint effort between the University of Washington, North Carolina State University, and California Polytechnic State University, was a national program to advance faculty diversity in engineering. LATTICE included a professional development intervention and a research study to understand why the intervention works. LATTICE was active from 2015 - 2020 with funding from an NSF ADVANCE award (HRD-1500310). 

LATTICE had a programmatic intervention element and a research element.

Intervention Overview

The intervention coupled a national professional development symposium with peer mentoring circles to

  • support early-career, post-PhD women as they navigate engineering faculty careers;
  • impact participants’ career self-efficacy, sense of belonging and career-advancing behaviors; and
  • introduce informal, sustainable support structures into the academic landscape.

LATTICE served two cohorts of women in engineering interested in faculty careers. The first cohort (2017) included early-career women in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). The second cohort (2019) included early-career underrepresented minority women in Engineering. More than 60% of the 62 LATTICE participants are women who identify as Black, African-American, or Hispanic. 

The national LATTICE symposia featured women faculty in engineering from a variety of engineering disciplines and other topical experts. A list of symposia panelists can be found here

LATTICE positively impacted participants. LATTICE I participants sustained statistically significant improvements to research self-efficacy over two years. LATTICE II participants reported improvements in self-efficacy, mentoring and networking, level of satisfaction with their career progression, and sense of belonging.

LATTICE also addressed sexual and gender harassment in the academy through a collaboration with a trauma-informed clinical psychologist, Dr. Katrina Sanford. In addition to offering a session at the 2019 LATTICE symposium, LATTICE partnered with Dr. Sanford to provide a self-care circles program in 2020. 

“It was empowering to hear about experiences other panelists/participants shared. I learned that it was okay to acknowledge failures/rejections, and to use that experience as a stepping stone.”

LATTICE Participant

Research Overview

The LATTICE project also seeks to understand why and how the intervention works. To do this, the project used ethnography to study:

  • individual and group values, politics, and practices of change-agents in the NSF ADVANCE community;
  • differences in social identities and disciplines of both organizers and participants; and
  • feminist strategies to facilitate consciousness-raising and transformative leadership in STEM.

Questions studied included: 

  1. How do feminist ethnographers enact care in our relations with the worlds we study, creating new knowledge within the bounds of counterspaces, while also maintaining accountability relations and methodological commitments to anonymity, friendship, care, and justice in the dissemination of this knowledge? 
  2. When the field site is a counterspace, how might an ethnographer theorize with and not about research participants, creating “polyvocality” while still accounting for racial, social, political, institutional and epistemic differences and the tensions resulting? 
  3. How can the LATTICE ethnography contribute insights into how sexual harassment is experienced in STEM across a range of intersectional standpoints, and create new theories of why sexual harassment occurs within a context of particular cultural norms and values?

Program Lineage

LATTICE is a direct descendant of the WEBS (NSF ADVANCE HRD-0545273 and HRD-0544754 and NSF DEB-1044506) and BRAINS (NIH NINDS 1R25NS076416-01). It also builds on the Peer Mentoring Summits for Women of Color Engineering Faculty (NSF ADVANCE HRD-0545269) and was influenced by the University of Washington ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change


  • Horner-Devine, M. C., Carrigan, C., Grant, C., Margherio, C., Mizumori, S. J. Y., Riskin, E., Simmons Ivy, J., & Yen, J. Peer coaching circles for ongoing faculty development. In S. M. Linder, C. Lee, & K. High (Eds.), The Handbook of STEM Faculty Development. Information Age Publishing, (2023). Available:  Chapter Overview available here
  • Diversity and Inclusion Begin with Trust.  ASEE Prism. Last Word. November 2020.
  • Community and Career Development: LATTICE for Early-career Underrepresented Minority Women. National Postdoctoral Association monthly newsletter - the POSTDOCket. Volume 16, Issue 10 (October 2018). Available at:
  • Cara Margherio, Coleen Carrigan, Christine Grant, Joyce Yen, Claire Horner-Devine, Eve Riskin, Julie Ivy. Building Community Through Professional Development: The LATTICE Program. Conference proceedings, 2019 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference (CoNECD). Apr 14-17, 2019. Crystal City, VA.
  • Coleen Carrigan, Saejin Kwak, Joyce Yen, Claire Horner-Devine, Eve Riskin, Julie Ivy, Christine Grant, Cara Margherio. Building and Breaching Boundaries: An Intersectional Coherent Group Approach to Advancing Women Faculty in Engineering. Conference proceedings, 2018 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) National Conference and Exposition. Jun 24-29 2018, Salt Lake City, UT.
  •  Christine Grant, Julie Ivy, Coleen Carrigan, Saejin Kwak. ADVANCE-ENG Success at the Intersection of Formal and Informal Networks for Women of Color Engineering Faculty. Conference proceedings, 2018 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference CoNECD. Apr 29-May 3 2018, Crystal City, VA.

“ One of the most valuable parts of the symposium is the freedom to express your experiences without being judged, because no one is from your dept/institution. Also to see that struggles and doubts and other maybe negative experiences do not make you a bad academic, just a real academic. So I go back with a higher confidence, ownership, and strength."

LATTICE Participant


Dr. Joyce Yen (PI), University of Washington
Professor Eve Riskin (Co-PI), University of Washington
Dr. Claire Horner-Devine (Co-PI), University of Washington and Counterspace Consulting
Professor Christine Grant (Co-PI), North Carolina State University
Professor Julie Ivy (Co-PI), North Carolina State University
Professor Coleen Carrigan (Co-PI), California Polytechnic State University
Dr. Cara Margherio (Evaluator), University of Washington

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“[My mentoring circle] has helped to build a bridge between the practices presented at LATTICE and my day to day. Because one does not walk out of a workshop and implement everything without hiccups.”

LATTICE Participant