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PRISM Logo Credit: Lee Druce, Program Assistant, Department of Teaching & Learning, Peabody College


PRISM (Power, Resistance & Identity in STEM Education) is a research lab at Vanderbilt University – Peabody College of Education & Human Development centered on scholarship that informs inclusive teaching and student support practices in undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), particularly in engineering, computing, and mathematical sciences. Directed by Dr. Luis A. Leyva in the Department of Teaching & Learning, PRISM consists of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral student members enrolled in various Peabody College degree programs who leverage their multi-disciplinary academic and professional backgrounds in inquiry for designing equitable STEM educational opportunities.

Cutting across research projects in PRISM is the use of intersectionality theory, developed by leading Black feminist legal scholar Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw, to guide inquiry about historically marginalized students’ experiences of undergraduate teaching and co-curricular support across different intersections of racial, gender, and sexual identities. The lab’s acronym, PRISM, pays homage to Dr. Crenshaw’s conceptualization of intersectionality as a “prism” to understand the dilemmas and oversights that multiply marginalized individuals experience at the juncture of racism, white supremacy, cis-heterosexism, and other systems of power. PRISM serves as an “intersectional prism” that, by way of centering the voices of historically marginalized populations, illuminates as well as disrupts multi-dimensional forms of oppression in undergraduate STEM education.

PRISM research projects have been generously supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, Kapor Center, and Peabody College. Any questions regarding PRISM research can be directed via e-mail to lab director, Dr. Luis A. Leyva.